ArchitectureDunedin is most commonly described as Edwardian Baroque or more specifically Flemish Renaissance in design. It is constructed of Central Otago bluestone with Oamaru stone facings and trim, and the roof is clad with Marseilles tiles. It is essentially two storeys high but there are numerous arcades, gables, balconies, and turrets, a tower and a porte-cochere, the sum total of which conveys the impression of a much larger structure. The most prominent feature is the tower, a dominant structure capped by a domed lantern, a motif repeated on the central gable. The platform elevation is comparatively more orderly, as less attention was expected to be paid to this side of the building. The interior, as lavish as the exterior, has a number of arcades linking parts of the building. The booking hall is lined with coloured tiles, and decorated with Royal Doulton cherubs, a mosaic floor and leadlight windows. One celebrated window features a front-on view of a steam engine. The verandahs are supported by slender cast-iron framing.
HistoryDunedin's first railway station was built for a short private railway between the city and Port Chalmers, sometime after 1870. In that year the government line to Clutha was opened and a combined station was built close to Rattray St, thus making the first station redundant. The new station was intended as a temporary one, but lasted over 30 years, and in 1885 it was moved further down Rattray St. At the turn of the 20th century Dunedin station was the busiest in the country, a reflection of the city's prosperity. Traffic included trains to other South Island centres and the local region, commuter services and excursion trains. The choice of the site for the replacement station provoked much discussion until Anzac St was decided on. Work began in 1904. The building was designed by Railways’ chief draughtsman George Troup and, more than any other of the many stations he was responsible for, secured him the title of "Gingerbread George". It has been the grandest station in New Zealand since its opening.
Architectural SignificanceDunedin is arguably New Zealand's finest station building and George Troup's masterpiece; it ranks as one of the country's finest public buildings. The sheer opulence of the decoration and the superb proportions make the building a visual treat. It sums up in one exuberant statement the pre-eminence railways occupied in Edwardian New Zealand, and in particular Dunedin's then position as the busiest station in New Zealand.
Historical SignificanceDunedin station no longer serves the inter-provincial, local and suburban trains that were its history, but the Taieri Gorge Railway has returned life to the station, with 40,000 passengers a year. But the expense and attention lavished on this building are obvious indications of its past significance and Dunedin's role as a regional management base. It encapsulates in one building the Edwardian enthusiasm for the railway and the country's growing prosperity.
Town / Landscape ValueDunedin is a very fine building in a city of splendid Victorian and Edwardian buildings. With its rich decoration it is a vital part of the Dunedin townscape.