Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SteamPunk in Oamaru

My home town is Oamaru, so it was a blast from the past to take a tiki-tour through there over New Year break. You can see in this distant picture the old heritage Oamaru - made of Oamaru Stone. We stayed there in the Criterion Hotel
This sculpture in the heart of town suggested a few things had changed. The wheels on this thing are tractor wheels - which gives you some idea of its size.

The sign on it gives an idea: "STEAMPUNK". But what is Steampunk? Where did it come from and why here in Oamaru?

I checked its website:

'Steampunk is “tomorrow as it used to be”, fantasy. The “punk” in steampunk is a rebellion against the present day preference for plastic and the disposable way of life. For many it is a search for where society might have taken the wrong turn at the end of the Victorian era. The punk era of the late 1970's and early 1980's gave rise to a group of science fiction authors who set their plots in the Victorian world.“Steampunk” was coined to define their type of sci-fi. It is set in a world where steam was the primary source of power, where everything was considered possible and expantion was the norm. Empires were built, new areas of the world taken over and why not go into space? – but at what cost to society? Significant influences were H.G. Wells and his time machine, Jules Verne and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Alan Moore's super heros in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

So there you have it.


This was STEAMPUNK HQ. All housed in 100 year old building full of working exhibits (no photos allowed....)

Outside was this old train engine - complete with drillscrew front, side winder missile, blown apart tracks, heading for the signals. Put $2 in the slot - anytime - and watch it light up....

The backyard was full of unlikely exhibits. Given my Dad used to sell Vanguards and Standards it was a bit of a blast. He also sold Ferguson tractors but this was no Ferguson.

The skyline was full of interesting scuplture. The fly on the wall (get it) was half a metre long. Quite a lot of creativity in evidence.

This old engine had been recovered from sea defences along the coast. Today the Little Blue Penguins seem to run the show. A few years ago they had confined themselves to a tiny corner of the waterfront (dogs and stuff), but now they treat the whole waterfront as their home, and late evening they are everywhere. Tourists are encouraged to walk carefully for fear of kicking them. The whole place has a very unusual and interesting feel.

The place is alive with the kind of creativity that we - in Auckland - could learn from. I wonder what sort of Post-Apocolypse we might be emerging from on our waterfront? FOSSILPUNK maybe. INDUSTRIALPUNK anyone....?

Tourists seem to love it. I had to join a long queue to get these pictures.

Old bogies thrown around like toys.

1 comment:

mickysavage said...

I was down at Oamaru in early January and marveled at the wonder that is Steampunk. I thought his photo of a worker dangling from a crane was a wonderful description of what it must feel like to be an Auckland wharfie. I have used this photo on a few blog posts about the Maritime dispute (e.g. http://waitakerenews.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/matthew-hooton-wanting-to-shut-poal.html)

Keep up the good work Joel. Your blog posts are always interesting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SteamPunk in Oamaru

My home town is Oamaru, so it was a blast from the past to take a tiki-tour through there over New Year break. You can see in this distant picture the old heritage Oamaru - made of Oamaru Stone. We stayed there in the Criterion Hotel
This sculpture in the heart of town suggested a few things had changed. The wheels on this thing are tractor wheels - which gives you some idea of its size.

The sign on it gives an idea: "STEAMPUNK". But what is Steampunk? Where did it come from and why here in Oamaru?

I checked its website:

'Steampunk is “tomorrow as it used to be”, fantasy. The “punk” in steampunk is a rebellion against the present day preference for plastic and the disposable way of life. For many it is a search for where society might have taken the wrong turn at the end of the Victorian era. The punk era of the late 1970's and early 1980's gave rise to a group of science fiction authors who set their plots in the Victorian world.“Steampunk” was coined to define their type of sci-fi. It is set in a world where steam was the primary source of power, where everything was considered possible and expantion was the norm. Empires were built, new areas of the world taken over and why not go into space? – but at what cost to society? Significant influences were H.G. Wells and his time machine, Jules Verne and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Alan Moore's super heros in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

So there you have it.


This was STEAMPUNK HQ. All housed in 100 year old building full of working exhibits (no photos allowed....)

Outside was this old train engine - complete with drillscrew front, side winder missile, blown apart tracks, heading for the signals. Put $2 in the slot - anytime - and watch it light up....

The backyard was full of unlikely exhibits. Given my Dad used to sell Vanguards and Standards it was a bit of a blast. He also sold Ferguson tractors but this was no Ferguson.

The skyline was full of interesting scuplture. The fly on the wall (get it) was half a metre long. Quite a lot of creativity in evidence.

This old engine had been recovered from sea defences along the coast. Today the Little Blue Penguins seem to run the show. A few years ago they had confined themselves to a tiny corner of the waterfront (dogs and stuff), but now they treat the whole waterfront as their home, and late evening they are everywhere. Tourists are encouraged to walk carefully for fear of kicking them. The whole place has a very unusual and interesting feel.

The place is alive with the kind of creativity that we - in Auckland - could learn from. I wonder what sort of Post-Apocolypse we might be emerging from on our waterfront? FOSSILPUNK maybe. INDUSTRIALPUNK anyone....?

Tourists seem to love it. I had to join a long queue to get these pictures.

Old bogies thrown around like toys.

1 comment:

mickysavage said...

I was down at Oamaru in early January and marveled at the wonder that is Steampunk. I thought his photo of a worker dangling from a crane was a wonderful description of what it must feel like to be an Auckland wharfie. I have used this photo on a few blog posts about the Maritime dispute (e.g. http://waitakerenews.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/matthew-hooton-wanting-to-shut-poal.html)

Keep up the good work Joel. Your blog posts are always interesting.