Rutland Stockade

In 2002 Wanganui District Council prepared the ground for the construction of a concrete pathway to improve access to the Cenotaph memorial. As the pathway went through an historically significant area, archaeologists Michael Taylor and Jonathan Welch carried out an excavation of the site.

They discovered the remains of the wall and two fences belonging to the Rutland Stockade, which occupied the site from 1847 until its final demolition in 1887. You can see a photograph of the Stockade taken in 1883 (when it was used as a prison) in the foyer of the Alexander Library.

It was decided to use bricks to mark the two fence lines. These bricks were recovered from the Rutland Stockade site during the ‘dig’ but do not relate to the two fences. They were most likely from the floor of a storeroom or similar structure just inside the stockade fence.

The inner line of bricks marks the stockade fence and the outer line marks the line of the later prison fence (1872). Remains of the fences are still in the ground beneath the bricks. The original fences were wood (for the stockade) and corrugated iron (for the prison).