Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

Old Oamaru Hospital 1998

Some things are just wrong…the demise of the regional public health system…in 1998, I was home on leave…I may have been recovering from an injury as I remember doing an awful lot of walking in that period but not much, if any, running…

Oamaru is a small coastal town on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand – it once was a thriving rural support centre with a railhead linking inland with main trunk rail services – we used to be able to look across the breakfast table and see the plume of smoke from the train servicing the Oamaru Stone quarry at Weston – and a small port supporting coastal shipping services – when such still existed. Both the rail and shipping are gone now: there are no passenger rail services south of Christchurch and the harbour is slowly silting up…

A view from the grounds of St Lukes, facing north-east, overlooking some of the restored Oamaru Stone Buildings

In the late 80s, Oamaru began to tidy itself up and started a programme to re-invent itself by revitalising the old Victorian port quarter – an industrial scunge hole as long as I have known it – as the new centre of town, It is now a thriving area of re-enactors, cafes and other businesses that, among other things hosts annual penny farthing races. As part of this programme, a lot of other areas in town were tidied up including restoring all the buildings in Oamaru Stone to the original blinding white of the raw stone, and developing a series of walking/running tracks all through the hills on which most of the town sits.

Oamaru’s main street, Thames Street, looking north.

In 1998, these tracks were all quite new to me and I spent the better part of a fortnight exploring them all in daily walks. One of then follows the line of Hospital Hill (so named for obvious reasons) and gives the walker the option of dropping off south towards the Gardens or heading north on a leg that runs along the hills that parallel the coast. The latter course takes one through the old hospital complex and it was here that I snapped the image above. Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the re-organisation of the public health system a couple of decades ago, I still think that abandoning the detritus of this programme to rust outside the former hospital buildings was just wrong…

The walkway from the Gardens follows the Oamaru Creek east towards the sea; the building at top right is the northern edge of the restored Victorian quarter.

1 thought on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

  1. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban « The World According to Me…

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