Sunday, November 3, 2013

Oamaru - Steampunk Capital of New Zealand

Or so proclaimed a large rusty water tank outside of town along the main highway. I had heard rumors about this, my relatives (in their 50s and not exactly hip to the cosplay scene) had told me that this old town was where the steampunkers are - "Penny Farthing capital of the world..."

So, with curiosity and excitement, I exited the highway to drive thru the downtown area. The area was home to a large limestone quarry, so all the buildings are built in a lovely white stone splendor. Very nice, and certainly a good backdrop for an event, but other than festivals is there anything steamy going on here?

But down by the dock I spotted it, and I was not disappointing!  The locals had embraced this aesthetic, and built a playground with strange contraptions doubling as playthings.

We then continued south to Dunedin, another older city. Mind you, no city on the island predates the mid-1800s. This simply means that the downtown areas often were built in decadent Victorian splendor. 
This, is the train station. Every floor was tiled in minute mosaic with train motifs. Every wall completely covered in relief tiles. The windows were stained glass. The wood trim and bannisters were carved. Every. Single. Surface. All this for a waystation, a limnal space that one passes thru for just a few moments. It makes the local Airport look like a trailer park.
With such fine buildings abounding, it's no wonder that people feel pulled to return to a more genteel era. With airships and clockworks of course...


homepaddock said...

Next time you're in Oamaru, go to Steampunk HQ in the historic precinct close to the playground.

Pink said...

Oooh! I wish I had known! It was a quick fly-by visit, but I would love to visit during an event.