ArchitectureInvercargill is a large, essentially rectangular, two-storey structure built of poured and prefabricated concrete. The main feature of all four elevations, and principal visual interest, consists of the rows of jutting bays with corrugated-iron roofs. These bays incorporate broad verandahs beneath. Behind these are arcades formed by a series of large arches. Attached to the platform elevation is a long and substantial verandah, supported by arches to the same design as those on the main building. The ground floor has a passenger lobby, designed to accommodate both road and rail traffic. There are offices upstairs.
HistoryWhen completed in 1978 Invercargill replaced the oldest existing station building, which had been built in 1864 and was an elegant link with early rail travel in New Zealand. The present building, erected at a cost of $1.7 million, was opened by then Prime Minister Robert Muldoon and was, not surprisingly, the most modern station in New Zealand. It received early public criticism for serving just two scheduled passenger trains a day, but it was also required for many scheduled coach services and as the district's operational headquarters. In 1984 the verandah of the road elevation was cut back to accommodate new Volvo coaches. Invercargill remains a road passenger terminal, but with the concentration of railway management in key centres the office accommodation is now largely vacant.
Architectural SignificanceInvercargill is one of the last big provincial stations and this Modern building is a particularly good example of its genre. Built to replace a fine but totally decayed building, this structure has four interesting elevations and a strong presence in a town noted for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture.
Historical SignificanceInvercargill has been part of provincial and then national rail networks for nearly 130 years. The present building replaced what was then the oldest remaining station building, a distinguished link with the earliest days of rail travel. Its replacement is a relatively rare example of a large modern station building.
Town / Landscape ValueThe distinctive road elevation is an interesting modern component of an historic part of the Invercargill streetscape.