25 July 2017

The skyline is becoming a ragged row

Old William Reave [sic.], an old whaler who died here last year, made Port Nicholson early in 1839, and carried a clear view of the scene to his deathbed. In an interview he said: 'Wellington or, I should say, what is now Wellington, was the first port made; and a pretty spot it was, with the native bush extending like a soft cloak of green from the hill-tops to the water, with only a few insignificant clearings round the Maori settlements of Pipitea and Te Aro'. So gracefully described in a few words, the picture is a perfect one. The aesthetic will sigh 'Heigh-ho!' at the change. The soft green cloak has disappeared entirely from the foreground, the shelving hills have, in the transforming process, been disguised as 'cuttings', the waving raupo flat of Te Aro is a stewpan of houses reeking with humanity, and where the rata and the tree fern waved and curtsied in the breeze, house-seed, flung from below, has taken root and thrived marvellously, until the skyline is becoming a ragged row of house-tops instead of the graceful line of the mountain ridge. Wellington has grown! The exclamation is a general one from those who have been away from the place any time, and nothing is more prosaically true. It has.

- Dominion, 26 September 1907, quoted in Pat Lawlor, More Wellington Days, 1962, p.134.

[The Dominion being quoted is the very first edition of that newspaper, which since its merger with the Evening Post in 2002 has been published as the Dominion Post]
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