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Cameron Street Shop Plan

Georgia Kerby, Exhibitions Curator

Over the last few months our Collections team have been steadily processing through Kiwi North’s archival map and plan collection. Throughout this project they have uncovered many interesting and subjectively interesting items relating to the history of Northland and New Zealand that have missed our notice before, owing to the vast quantity of items in the Collection. One such plan is a beautiful architectural drawing of a shop to be built on Whangarei’s Cameron Street.


The plan is made attractive by pastel green and pink highlighting architectural details on the shop frontage, which contrast to functional details showcased in bright red. While the original linen material is quite creased and foxed, the drawing itself, estimated to be around 100 years old is in great condition. Titled “Plan of Brick Premises At Whangarei For R. Thompson, Esqre. Scale 1/8” = 1’-0”.” there is sadly no date provided. This plan was donated amongst 200 items to Whangarei Museum by M. Petherik from a family member of Frank Holman, who collected many historical artefacts and archives as a resident of Whangarei. Other plans and maps in the collection date between 1867 and 1912.



The Front and Side elevations, Foundation and Roof Plans and two cross sections are depicted. The  single story building was divided into two with large shop areas at the front and store rooms in the rear. A detailed awning over the entrance, above large glass windows, ornamental doors and decorative moldings and ironwork above show this building was designed to have an attractive shop frontage. The foundation and floor plans show the use of a grid of air vents to manage moisture levels below, as well as the positioning of gas meters for lighting and two chimney posts at the back for heating.



Upon looking at historic photographs of Cameron Street I could not find a match for this building design. Similar buildings feature after the 1900 fire which wiped out several blocks of Cameron Street.


Mr. R. Thompson held various offices in Whangarei around this time- he was a member of parliament, president of the Whangarei Racing Club. He owned several plots of land around town, including on Walton and Bank Streets so it is likely he owned a plot on Cameron Street for which this plan was made. If you identify this building from any photographs you have at home please let us know. In the meantime this original hand drawing serves as a reminder of Whangarei’s architectural and business history, much of which we have lost through fire, age and development.