Inverlochy Place

Inverlochy Place

Currently, there are limited sites around Wellington where emerging street artists can practise without asking for permission. Inverlochy Place (144 Abel Smith Street) became one of those sites when Rod Baxter, a youth worker with an interest in street art asked permission of his then landlord in 2013 if artists were able to paint on the brick wall on the west side of the street.

See Vividwgtn’s Inverlochy Pinterest Board for some of the past works.

In 2015 Vividwgtn organisers Bruce Mahalski & Nic Lane who have been involved with neighbouring Inverlochy Art School saw future townhouse developments at 146 Abel Smith Street would see the removal of part of the wall and so set about extending wall space to the east side as well.

Vivid also recognised the disadvantage female artists have in advancing their practice with the traditional mode of development happening in the darkness of the night when they are more physically vulnerable.

In the 2016 Festival, we created a brief mostly focused around the artists’ self-expression but also responding to the sites location to the original Wellington Girls College (1883) and their identity as women. Artists included: Taupuruariki (Ariki) BrightwellRegan Billie Jones, Larissa McMillan

Additional History of the Street:


“The Avenue” facing North from Abel Smith Street, c.1890s

Previously known as ‘The Avenue’ the street is believed to be a pedestrian link from Aro Valley to the CBD since 1875. To retain private ownership at the time it previously required a gate that was shut at least one day of the year.

Inverlochy House was built circa 1878 by Thomas Kennedy Macdonald, a Scottish accountant/auctioneer and later local Politician, for more detailed history see Inverlochy Art School History

The original Wellington Girls College (1883) occupied 146 Abel Smith street site (building behind current garages).

In 1936 and ‘The Avenue’ became Inverlochy Place and is believed around this time Inverlochy was divided into nine flats.

In 1979, William Development Holdings announced plans to knock down Inverlochy House and build a seven storey hotel with a car park on the site. The building’s inhabitants were issued with eviction notices but together with other local residents they began a fight to save the historic building. The Terrace End Residents Association was formed to fight the demolition and street fairs and rallying perused.

The right to demolish the building were originally passed by the council, but following questions of Michael Fowler’s ability to count voting hands, votes were recounted after a dinner break with assumed lobbying with the decision was revoked.

Attempts were made to gift the street to the city in the 1990s but as it didn’t meet council standards the gift was never accepted. Currently the street has private ownership shared by 5 landowners.