Places · Victorian

The City of White Stone

No… I’m not writing about Gondor… this post is about Oamaru, that beautiful little city in Otago which annually feeds my historical costuming addiction.

This beautiful city holds the Victorian Heritage Celebrations every year in November and I have been attending for nearly 10 years. Not only is it the biggest and best historical costuming event in New Zealand, it also gives me a chance to celebrate some family history as well.

Funnily enough, the decade in which I tend to dress in – the 1880s, is also the decade that my Scottish great-great-grandparents moved to Oamaru. My great-grandfather, John Annand, was born in Oamaru in 1884, but I still don’t know as much about them as I would like. I know that they had ties to grain, and also to a grocer’s store. I even know what street they lived on (Eden Street – the same street where Janet Frame, the author, lived many years later), yet I am still hopeful of uncovering some more information about how they lived.

One of my favourite things about Oamaru (apart from the Heritage Celebrations) is the architecture. It has so many strikingly beautiful buildings built from locally quarried limestone know as Oamaru Stone.

A lot of these can be seen along Thames Street – the Opera House, the Court House and the two bank buildings to name only a few. Turning from Thames Street is where the really special part of the city can be found. And that is the Historic Precinct.

The entrance to Harbour Street, the Criterion, oldest hotel in Oamaru on the right


The Historic Precinct is easily where I spend most of my time whenever I visit Oamaru.




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I’m normally in period dress when I’m down in the precinct but that makes sitting on a penny farthing a bit tricky!


And… of course… I might be a little bit biased towards the city because I am featured on the wall of the local Countdown supermarket with my friend:

It’s us! Posing with the ‘likeness’ of myself and Liane on the supermarket wall


Consider yourself forewarned…. many of my future posts will unashamedly be about the wonderful and incomparable Oamaru and all of the adventures I have there 😉

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