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ANTONIO HALL

Inside Christchurch's well known, but little understood mansion

Story by Jeff Smith Photography June 20th, 2014

The Original Villa

The original house was constructed on what was then farmland, far from the city at 265 Riccarton Road, Christchurch New Zealand between 1904 and 1909 for a successful grocery merchant, Thomas Kincaid. From 1929 it was owned by another prominent local, John Montgomery.

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In 1946 the “Kincaid property” was purchased by the Roman Catholic Church as a site to educate boys planning to enter the priesthood.

Over the next 20 years several extensions were added including a chapel (and then a larger chapel), lecture rooms and accommodation for over 100 students and staff.

Alas, eventually numbers enrolling declined to the point that the facility was no longer sustainable and its functions were merged with Holy Cross College in Mosgiel, nearly 400Km South of Christchurch.

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Moving around back

The Garage, Water Tower, and Natural Artesian Spring, which once supplied the estate with a source of clean water.

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Earthquake condemned

The September 2010, and the devestating February 2011 earthquakes left the main house uninhabitable. Clear but crudely painted signs warn that entering this part of the building is forbidden by emergency law.

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strangled by overgrowth

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heading inside

Entering through a rear door, into the former residence halls.

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Early 2000's renovation attempt

In 1993 the property was sold to its current owners. Plans to renovate the building as a motel were put on hold, just before their completion in the early 2000s.

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Boarding halls

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Renovation didn't get far

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some items remain

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The piano man

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the bag room

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the kitchen and dining rooms

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the chapel

By request, I wasn’t allowed to photograph this cavernous space from some angles, you’ll just have to believe me when I say that it was absolutely beautiful, and in comparatively excellent condition.

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leaving...

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Hidden in Plain Sight

The future of the hall is uncertain, with massive earthquake damage, and owners disinterested in restoring the hall, it very well may spend another generation slowly degrading, just behind the trees on Riccarton Road, not far from the city's largest shopping mall.

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Footnote: To enquire about Antonio Hall, (aka Campion Hall, Kilmead, Holy Name Seminary), visit www.antoniohall.org.nz with a big thanks to Robert U, and the Antonio Hall Volunteer Force
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand