Architecture very long and slender structure, Oamaru has an even longer verandah. The form of the building is basically rectangular but the walls to the south of the building have been extended. The building is clad with rusticated weatherboards and has a corrugated-iron roof. The entrance from the street is defined by a gabled porch, the width of a porte cochère, flanked by a verandah resting on elegant turned-timber posts. There are sash windows, with small upper sashes, at regular intervals. The gables on the road elevation have a fine decorative infill, although they are shorn of their finials. There are brick chimneys at intervals along the roof apex and a lean-to attachment to the north of the building. The platform elevation is dominated by the long gabled verandah, supported by a series of rails tied to both the building and a freestanding timber post. It has numerous windows and entrances. The interior has been greatly modified so that little original remains.
HistoryWork on the Oamaru section of the Main South Line started in 1873 and the first station building, at the foot of Wansbeck St, was finished the same year. The first section of the railway, Oamaru to Waitaki, opened on 27 September 1875. The station was enlarged in 1878 to coincide with the completion from Christchurch to Dunedin. Oamaru was not a through station, and trains had to reverse. A new through station was proposed for Humber St and completed in October 1900. The previous station was used as a goods office. As a result commercial activity in Oamaru drifted north. In 1908 a ladies' waiting room was added to the building and the same year a footbridge was approved. This footbridge was replaced in 1924 and demolished in 1958. There were few additions to the station building, but many alterations. In particular the 1950s saw many changes to the building interior in an effort to accommodate the expanding staff and functions. Until the mid 1980s Oamaru was an important division point for train crews, but changes in operating methods and a reduction in local traffic led to the withdrawal of station staff in 1990. Freight traffic is handled in the yard near the old port.
Architectural SignificanceOamaru has a very fine and relatively original exterior, and a heavily compromised interior. The building's elegance is imparted to some extent by touches of turn-of-the-century domestic villa architecture around the street entrance, unusual on a station building. This timber building is a fine and unmistakeable contrast with the whitestone structures that make up the bulk of Oamaru's historic architecture.
Historical SignificanceIn its heyday, as its size would suggest, Oamaru was a major district station. Built when the town was one of the South Island's larger centres, with some of the finest buildings in the country, it reflected the prestige associated with the town. The building is no longer used by the railway and its retention will depend on the success of a new purchaser's ventures.
Town / Landscape ValueThis fine timber building offers an important contrast to Oamaru's many splendid stone buildings.