Weekly photo challenge: Unexpected and fragrant

In Wellington, New Zealand, there’s a wooden church that’s a church by name but not by nature.  From the outside, it’s small, cream, nineteenth-century, Gothic Revival.  Quaint.

Old St Paul's, Wellington, NZ
Old St Paul’s, 1865, Wellington, NZ

When the ‘open’ sign is displayed, visitors are welcome.  And when they step inside, many exclaim ‘Wow!’.  They don’t expect to see an interior composed entirely of rich native timbers like kauri, rimu, totara and matai.  The eye goes straight to the vault, which resembles the upturned hull of an ancient vessel.  And visitors don’t expect an old church to smell so good.  The timber has not lost its fragrant essence over the centuries.  It reminded me of a small cedar box I own; I’ve had it for thirty years, yet with each opening of the lid it releases a heady fragrance forcing me to inhale deeply.  And so it was when I entered this church.  I wanted to return, to worship.  But it now serves only for concerts and events like weddings.

Interior, Old St Paul's, Wellington NZ
Interior, Old St Paul’s, 1865, Wellington NZ

Ailsa has posted a challenge this week for photos evoking a particular fragrance.  For anyone who has been inside Old St Paul’s in Wellington, this photo will have you breathing and remembering.

16 Replies to “Weekly photo challenge: Unexpected and fragrant”

  1. I’m so glad you love it. I wonder what the architect and builders would think if they knew it was now just for events, and not services, having made such a beautiful and unusual church …

  2. It’s very close to the city centre. Take someone who doesn’t know what’s inside, and don’t tell them. It’s a great surprise!

  3. Very surprising short photo-story, I agree. In the ‘developed’ world (read over-developed), so much of the charming architecture gets ripped down in the name of progress. What pleasure to see a people preserve their heritage. And I bet the acoustics for the concerts are dramatic.

  4. I expect that in the past there were native timbers used in buildings in your part of the Pacific, too. We don’t see them much any more, now that native trees are protected in most places. Architecture these days is based on cheap timber that has to be painted, but look what we miss out on!

Comments are closed.