Archived: Barracks Wall

With its solid bluestone basalt perimeter wall Albert Barracks was a prominent and impressive construction: a visual focus in addition to being a center of military and social activities for the growing town of Auckland.

Using basalt from the Mt Eden quarry, construction began in late 1846 to early 1847. Construction of buildings continued for over a decade and the wall was completed sometime around 1852. Maori stonemasons and builders were used extensively in the construction of the walls, wells and buildings of the Barracks.

With the removal of the military threat, the seat of government shifted to Wellington in 1865, the cost of maintaining the regiments was reviewed and a decision was taken to abandon the Barracks. During 1871 and 1872 the walls and many of the buildings were removed or demolished and the materials used in other constructions around the city.

However, some of the buildings remained on the site for many years and were used variously for police or educational purposes. None exist today and of the barracks wall only 85m of an original 1300m still remain in the grounds of Auckland University. It is the only remnant of the wall which enclosed nine hectares - including Albert Park - where a thousand British troops were stationed until 1870. The basalt stone was quarried from the slope of Mt Eden now known as Eden Garden.

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Last updated: 19 February 2019

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