Cenotaph - Stellin Memorial Park – Albemarle Road bush – Johnston Hill Scenic Reserve E
Sunday 24 July 2022
In Parliament's restored grounds we admired the children's play area, then discussed the copper dome on the Executive Wing / Beehive (1981), Parliament House (1914) and the impressive Parliamentary Library (1897). Leonore told us that Parliament House's columns and walls are made of dove-grey Tākaka marble and the basement of Coromandel granite. Peter told us that the fire in its top storey during renovations in 1992 was caused by steel-cutting work. Up steep historic Ascot St we read the inscription at the gate of No. 22 where composer Douglas Lilburn lived. As we crossed Tinakori Rd we walked above the culvert of Pipitea Stream which drains parts of Kelburn and Northland.
At No. 380 Tinakori Rd we chuckled at the statue of The Tipsy Ladies, a name coined in the 1980s for the three 1906-era townhouses then in such a poor state of repair that they were leaning, ripe for demolition. At the top of the public part of Patanga Cres we climbed the steps and track to ‘Thorndon Green’. Soon we began the steep climb on the Town Belt through bush on the scarp of Wellington Fault. We saw ear fungus / hakeke on dead or dying branches, and lantern fungus / tūtae kēhua in leaf litter trackside. Our reward was reaching Stellin Memorial Park, 220 m altitude, with its panoramic views - an ideal possie for scroggin.
We tramped through Albemarle Road bush, crossing the ford dry-foot, then passed Bowen Early Childhood Education Centre with striking murals of native wildlife on its fence. Crossing Ian Galloway Park's playing field we were on grass above what had been Walworth Tip until the 1960s. For lunch we sat on a line of ‘socially-distanced’ bollards near the top of the track down the former tip's face towards Te Mahanga Stream and Ōtari.
In Karori Cemetery we read about the tomcat – ‘Mrs Chippy’ - on the grave of Harry McNish, carpenter on Ernest Shackleton's 1914-17 Antarctic Expedition, then read the inscriptions on the memorial to the 151 victims of the 24.12.1953 Tangiwai rail disaster caused when a lahar from Mt Ruapehu destroyed the rail bridge over the Tangiwai River.
The final part of our trip was on tracks in fine bush in Johnston Hill Scenic Reserve to Hauraki St, Karori. After a brief walk to One Fat Bird café in Marsden Village we enjoyed hot drinks and kai.
- Party members
- Diana Barnes, Gary Bartrain, Alan Benge, Elizabeth Bridge, Leonore Hoke, Chris Horne (leader and scribe), Euan Macpherson, Chris Paice, Penny Salmond, Peter Shanahan.