These former shipping company offices are an important reminder of Auckland’s maritime past.
Commissioned by the Northern Steamship Company in 1888, this two-storey building was officially opened on 19 May 1899. It cost $36,000 and is one of the few surviving buildings designed by architect Arthur P. Wilson.
Located on reclaimed land opposite the wharves and near the railway station, it was the ideal home for this coalition of shipowners and businessmen. The company provided regular passenger and freight services from Auckland to the Bluff, and by the early 1920s its fleet numbered more than 40 vessels.
A wooden boardwalk allowed passengers to cross to the steamers without getting muddy in wet weather. Inside, fine cast iron columns supported the high ceilings. A third level was added in 1921 to provide accommodation, a laundry and additional offices.
New Lease of Life
As competition from the roads and railway increased, the Northern Steamship Companys fortunes declined. In the 1940s the interior of the building was extensively remodelled and many of its original features were lost.
When the company eventually ceased operation in the 1970s, the lease reverted to the Auckland Harbour Board.
As part of the Britomart redevelopment programme, the building underwent a full restoration by Cheshire Architects and heritage consultants Salmond Reed.
All the exposed brickwork within the building is original and recycled timber has been used from buildings elsewhere in the precinct. The window joinery was restored by craftsmen onsite and the original main Quay Street doors were restored offsite and reinstated.
Find The Northern Steamship Company Building
122-124 Quay Street