Behind the Facades: Victorian Wellington


Our Victorian buildings have value today – they enhance our ‘sense of place’, they connect us to stories of their former owners and they make us feel part of something more than a transitory, urban existence. These lectures and walking tour aim to enhance your appreciation of Wellington’s remaining Victorian buildings by going behind their facades to set them in their original context and bring them, and the people who lived and worked in them, to life.

The final session is a Saturday walking tour of the Victorian buildings in the suburb of Mount Victoria, Wellington.

Target audience:
This course is for anyone with an interest in local history, architecture and Victorian Wellington and its buildings.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will have:

  • a greater awareness of the presence and range of Victorian buildings in Wellington
  • an increased appreciation of the buildings through the people who built, lived and worked in them.

Course outline:
Topics for the lecture presentations include the following:

  • Introduction: An overview of the times, the place and influences on the development of Victorian Wellington 
  • Trade and commerce: The central business district and other businesses
  • Temples of power, faith and learning: Government, church and education buildings
  • Domestic bliss: City and suburban domestic dwellings

There will be time for questions and group discussion.

There is a short break halfway through each session, and you are welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

The course will conclude with a two hour walking tour around Mount Victoria in Wellington. There will be some uphill walking so a moderate level of fitness is required.

It will take place in any weather so comfortable walking shoes and suitable clothing for the varied weather conditions are recommended.

You will be required to complete and return a Personal Disclosure Form to the Centre for Lifelong Learning in advance of the trip. Further details about the walking tour will be provided during the course.

Joanna Newman is a consultant in archives and records management. She is Convenor of the Mount Victoria Historical Society and has been involved in research, writing articles and taking guided walks for the Society since 1999.

Relevant links:
Mount Victoria Historical Society

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.