Saturday, April 2, 2011

Argonaut Demolition, Stanmore Rd, Christchurch Quake

National State of Emergency, Wed 09.03.11. Two weeks post Feb 22, magnitude 6.3 Christchurch quake, I wandered up Stanmore Rd & came upon Argonaut bldg demolition. I often passed that way, as Leah taught at nearby London St. After daily driving Luke to tech, I drove past Stanmore Rd Argonaut, near quake ravaged Worcester St cnr.

25 images, Stanmore Rd:

Witnesses gathered opp the old, brick Argonaut, which had survived the Sept 4 quake, but collapsed in the Feb 22 quake. Three Singapore USAR / TF men, in black uniforms, white hard hats & dust masks, stood by the demolition cordon fence, in case the demolisher came unstuck. Up the road, two yellow, Hi Vis vested cops & a cop car directed traffic & gawkers.

People went about their business, shopping, driving cars, motorbikes, cycling, just another demolition. We were used to demolitions post Sept 4 quake.

What pics didn't give was hellish noise: cars rattling by, digger tracks clanking & rattling over rubble, shrieking metal as the digger pulled bldg bits apart, clunking & crashing as walls fell in dust clouds. The noise was so bad, at one point a Singapore USAR / TF man crossed the road & stood by me, trying to call someone on his cell phone - useless by the noisy cordon fence.

I didn't stay long, as I'd already walked hours that hot afternoon in CBD zone 3 & zone 2 cordons.

* Wandered Stanmore Rd.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.


  1. Sad indeed... but they were looking so rundown and fragile before any of the quakes. Went to a couple of events upstairs over the years. Often thought if there was a shake they'd be in trouble. So weird to see so many places i recognise changing so much...


  2. Must be very sad for you Sandy having lived with those bldgs so long. As an immigrant I have no emotional sttachement to the shabby, rundown bldgs, but they certainly taught me what Christchurch was like & how quickly things have changed since the quakes, with all the demolitions. At least the death traps are being demolished, hope they all go, or people will not be wanting to enter them in future.

    Wife & I joke that we can tell when the bldgs were demolished: If the site is weedy, demolition took place after the Sept quake, if the site is clean & still dusty, a recent demolition after the Feb quake, so many demolition sites around town, like a war zone. Regards.

  3. Indeed's devastating... born and bred Cantabrian. Lived the East side [Avondale] from when i was 2 and back again when my marriage split in 1992 - i still have a house in Breezes Rd which i've owned since 1993 but rented since i moved to Auckland in 2007 - infact mum and dads house [now badly damaged like so many others - since the Sept quake even let alone the Boxing day and Feb quake] was the second to be built in their street in 1964 so everything i recognise has changed over a huge area and is damaged and my heart bleeds. It will hit even more when i get a chance to see the empty spaces myself in town i guess... as it will for so many people.

    Your photography and dialogue is just absolutely brilliant and i really appreciate it.

    LOL I love the weed story :) ... Keep up the great work!


  4. Thanks Sandy. Sad about your Breezes Rd house. I was in the area last week. Looked badly shaken up. What a time to be in Christchurch. Feedback much appreciated. Regards.

  5. Responded to an email from a council worker, asking permission to use pics for the Christchurch City Council "Linwood Village" draft recovery plan, namely Stanmore Rd & Worcester St corners, a suburban commercial centre, incl Argonaut bldg, all badly quake damaged.