About Grafton

Grafton is a suburb of Auckland City, New Zealand. The suburb is named for the Duke of Grafton, a patron of the first Governor of New Zealand, William Hobson, and the grandfather of a subsequent Governor, Robert FitzRoy. Once known as ‘Grafton Heights’, denoting its history as a well-off suburb in Auckland’s earliest decades.[1] According to the 2001 census, Grafton has a population of 2,052.

The suburb is characterised by its many historic buildings, many of them essentially unchanged from the early decades of the 20th century. While the extents of the suburb have shrunk with the motorway and arterial road construction of the middle 20th century,[1]the remaining smaller suburb thus has a highly cohesive structure, which is recognised, for example, in the residential zoning which discourages demolition of existing buildings.

Grafton has a local resident’s association, abbreviated as the GRA.[1]

Landmarks

  • Grafton Bridge: Spanning Grafton Gully and connecting the Auckland CBD with Grafton and parts further east this was the largest piece of Civil Engineering in New Zealand. When it was completed in 1910 it was the largestreinforced concrete arched bridge in the world, spanning almost 300 metres.
  • Basley-Bush House (aka. Rothesay Private Hotel, The Bridge House), 123 Grafton Road, was built c. 1882 for George Basley (1846-1919) Mayor of Parnell 1906-1909. Featuring Italianate design to the windows and detailing of the building, with its distinctive faceted pyramidal roof bay, ornate chimneys and modillions it is the sole remnant of the Victorian-Edwardian era in Grafton. During the construction of Grafton Bridge 1908-1910 this house was the residence of the City Engineer Walter Ernest Bush who was supervising the completion of the bridge. After being derelict for many years, it has been recently renovated by volunteers of Falling Apple Charitable Trust and currently operates as a café, art gallery and salon, namely Hum Salon.
  • Auckland City Hospital: As early as 1842 this area was seen as an ideal spot for the colony’s hospital; a sunny, north facing location a short distance from town but fairly isolated should there be an epidemic of any kind. The first buildings of the 1850s and 1860s were wooden and have long disappeared. The main building was designed byPhilip Herepath in 1878 in the Italianate style. It was demolished in the early 1960s and replaced by a 10 story modernist block which still stands on the hill. In the 1880s and 1890s new brick buildings of some size were built including the Costley block (now demolished) which was the legency of local benefactor Edward Costley. Close by are several other specialist blocks from before and after the first world war. In 2003, a new hospital was completed adjacent to the existing one. This new hospital amalgamated services of the old hospital’s Acute Adult care, as well as Greenlane Hospital’s Cardiothoracic services and National Women’s Obstetric, Gynaecological and Neonatal services. Acute Paediatric services are delivered by the adjoining Starship Children’s Hospital. By bringing all these services on to one campus, Auckland City Hospital gained the status of being the largest hospital in New Zealand.[2]
  • Huia Lodge – cnr Grafton and Park Road. In the 1960s a highrise Nurses residence replaced an Edwardian Mansion retaining several of the trees on the property.

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