A trip down the Ganges
March 27, 2017
Ganges Road is considered to be the heart of Khandallah – home to the shops of Khandallah village and embedded in a rich history that enlivens the suburb.
Before Khandallah was a suburb of Wellington, it was in the Onslow Borough, which had council offices at the Khandallah Public Hall before merging with Wellington City Council in 1953.
The Khandallah Public Hall was built in 1912 and stood alone on Ganges Road until a grocer set up business on the corner of Dekka Street and Ganges Road in 1924. Continuous growth turned the street into a real community hub.
During the Depression, the public hall was used as a base to support those less fortunate. Local women operated a soup kitchen for families struck by unemployment.
Fundraising events were held with proceeds going to community-focused activities such as Christmas celebrations for children in the Ngaio-Khandallah district.
Khandallah librarian Jayne Streatfield said Ganges Road was still very important for the community. She emphasised the well-established community presence had not been lost. “For the elderly and for the young … it’s a real community centre.”
An example of the community spirit was clearly seen a few years ago when the Wellington City Council wanted to reduce the library’s opening hours, Streatfield said. The community got together and successfully petitioned the council to keep the library hours to remain the same.
Owner of Ganges Road’s video rental store Phil Jupp said the street was what it was because the community wanted it. It created an ease of access for the community, he said.
Streatfield said that big change to Ganges Road had come only in recent years because of earthquake strengthening – forcing some businesses to temporarily relocate. As far as she was aware, the businesses affected by earthquakes all intended to relocate back to Ganges Road when they were able to.