ArchitectureEssentially a Troup Vintage station but with little external decoration, Gisborne is a long rectangular building augmented by an even longer verandah. Timber-framed and clad, it has a corrugated-iron roof on both the verandah and main building. In common with other Vintage stations the exterior weatherboarding is rusticated. This much-extended station has a number of rooms and accompanying doors and windows, mostly double-hung sash. The road elevation has three gables, evenly but not symmetrically arranged, with an entrance porch approximately half-way along. All the gables are partly infilled with horizontal battens. There is now just the one chimney on the roof.
HistoryThe Gisborne station contract was let in 1901 and the successful tenderer was the local firm of Mathieson and Baldock. It was completed for the opening of the Gisborne to Ormond line in 1902. A major fire in 1918 gutted much of the porter's and stationmaster's offices. They were quickly reinstated. As the terminus of the isolated Gisborne section, it grew quickly in its first 40 years. By .1939, nearly 30 years after work started, the rail link to Napier was close to completion. It was decided that the station building, yard and sidings needed to be completely reorganised and expanded. By early 1941, as part of this work, the station building had been moved some distance directly back, added to and rearranged internally to provide more room for expanding business. The work took over a year and left Gisborne with an entirely different station layout, although externally the station building was extended by only a few metres. The first scheduled train to Napier ran on 7 September 1942. There were further internal alterations to the station building in 1944 when a new stationmaster's office was installed. Further shelter was provided in 1950 when the verandah at the redundant Te Karaka station (1905) was moved to Gisborne and added to the existing verandah. There were further alterations to the booking office in 1964. The line to Napier is mothballed, but the Gisborne City Vintage Railway uses the station.
Architectural SignificanceGisborne is not one of the most elaborately decorated of the Troup stations, although it does possess some very fine decorated gables. Despite the many additions to the building it has retained a remarkable consistency in appearance. In its now relatively modest appearance it represents, in a somewhat larger version, more the typical station.
Historical SignificanceGisborne's pivotal position as the terminus of the East Coast railway was fully realised when the line to Napier opened in 1942 and the station was completely rearranged. The station's heyday has passed but until recent mothballing of the line it remained an important provincial station, in active use for freight traffic.
Town / Landscape ValueGisborne is not in the heart of the city and has no great impact on the townscape.