Ladies Pavilion

Taranaki Herald March 3, 1949

Early in 1948 a request for a ladies dressing shed was made to the Park Committee by a deputation representing the New Plymouth Amateur Athletic and Cycling Club and the Girls’ Marching Association. It was pointed out that female athletes competing at the Park’s sportsground were getting changed in their cars or in the bushes. It was hoped that the building would contain two rooms measuring 15ft x 12 feet, with showers and other amenities at the rear.

 The deputation pointed out that in 1949 several women’s events may be held in new Plymouth, including; the New Zealand women’s and junior track and field athletic championships, the national marching championships, as well as hosting a visiting team from America.

The Park Committee was sympathetic to the request provided finances for the project could be found.

Representatives of the New Plymouth Amateur Athletic and Cycling Club attended the Park Committee meeting in May 1948 reiterating their request for changing facilities at the sportsground. The deputation stated that holding the New Zealand women’s and junior track and field athletic championships at the Park in 1949 was dependent on changing facilities being available, otherwise they would have to be held at Rugby Park. After the deputation left the matter was further discussed, and it was resolved that “every effort should be made to proceed with the erection of the necessary conveniences with the least possible delay, and subject to the necessary materials being available that the committee approves of the work proceeding immediately.”

The Committee received an interest free advance of £2000 to proceed with the development.

To raise funds for the construction a committee was set up, which included representatives from the Park Committee and several local sporting bodies. One of the committee members was renowned javelin thrower Stan Lay.

The site chosen for the changing rooms was located at the south-west corner of the sportsfield. A large cutting was made into the bank creating a suitable space for the changing room as well as a future staff building. For safety reasons, ten pine trees were felled on the hillside above the new building between the Sportsground and the Tea House. An old tractor shed was removed from the site and relocated to the Fountain Lake section of Smith Walk, where it remains today.

The changing room was designed by then borough engineer Mr. R. F. Mainland and was constructed by Messrs. Curd Bros. It was completed sometime during February 1949 and construction cost was £1318.

The building, which remains in the park, measures approximately 41 Feet by 24 feet. It has a large changing area with separate public ladies’ conveniences. Unfortunately showers were never fitted.