In the Queens City, which has been criticised for being too new or bland, there are pockets of history in plain sight, an obvious example being Customs Street East, the birthplace of commerce in metropolis. As early as the 1830s, the area was clearly defined as the commercial hub of Auckland, for the obvious reasons of its proximity to harbour, which later hosted the wharves and railway station. This 1844 pencil drawing of 'Commercial Bay' depicts the presence of the Custom House, Bycroft and Company, Acacia Cottage, Exchange Hotel, Gibson and Mitchell, Government House, Government store, Langford and Gardner, Mechanics Institute, Nathan and Joseph, New Zealand Banking Company, Northern Club, O'Connell Street, Post Offices, Royal Hotel, Royal Victoria Theatre, St Pauls Church, Shortland Street, Wesleyan Chapel, and the Victoria Hotel.
Land Reclamation, planned in 1841, enlarged the waterfront and Customhouse street changed its name to Customs Street by 1885. Other buildings which popped up and still stand, heritage protected, are A.H. Nathan Warehouse and Condiments Factory, Australis House, Barrington Building, Excelsior Building (Former), Levy Buildings, Masonic Club / Buckland Building, P Hayman & Co. Warehouse (Former), Stanbeth House. The entire street is an Historic Area. Many of these buildings are warehouses, or converted warehouses, relics of the turn of the century boom in Auckland.
For a guided walk of Historic Auckland from the Ferry Building try our Original Auckland Walk complete with Audioguide.
Images Credit: Sir George Grey Special Collections Auckland City Libraries, Pencil drawing of Auckland looking East from the vicinity of Smales Point across Commercial showing Shortland Street (foreshore), corner of Queen Street Auckland Central (right).