Story: Historic places

Uncovering Plimmer's Ark

Uncovering Plimmer's Ark

Archaeologists Susan Forbes and Mary O'Keefe sift through mud looking for artefacts in the basement of Wellington's old Bank of New Zealand building in 1997. During the dig the remains of the hull timbers of the ship Inconstant were discovered. The vessel had foundered at the entrance of Wellington Harbour in 1849. Businessman John Plimmer had salvaged it and beached it at the southern end of Lambton Quay. It became a warehouse and was soon dubbed Plimmer's Ark. The ship's remains were a major find that captured the public's imagination. Most of the timbers were transported to a waterfront shed for conservation work and a small public display was created in the renovated bank building. In 2016 the conserved timber was to be used to construct public art on the waterfront.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Dominion Post Collection (PAColl-7327)
Reference: EP/1997/1994
Photograph by Jo Head

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Ben Schrader, 'Historic places - Destruction and renewal, 1980s to 2000s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/42145/uncovering-plimmers-ark (accessed 31 March 2020)

Story by Ben Schrader, published 22 Oct 2014, updated 19 Aug 2016