Buckle Street riot, 1913

Buckle Street riot, 1913

A stand-off on Buckle Street, Wellington, during the 1913 Waterfront Strike. The view is towards Mt Victoria from the intersection with Taranaki Street. Two regular army soldiers with fixed bayonets guard the intersection, while others sit in front of the Defence Store in the right foreground, the only building visible which is still standing.

Buckle Street was the site of the Alexandra Barracks – the quarters for the Royal New Zealand Artillery Regiment – the Drill Hall and the Mount Cook Infants’ School. Mounted special constables were based at the hall and the school after being driven from the Post and Telegraph Store on the waterfront by strike supporters.

Mount Cook was a working-class neighbourhood in which many people resented the presence of the specials. For most of the strike Buckle Street was cordoned off and guarded by soldiers with rifles and fixed bayonets, along with two machine guns. On 3 November there was a major riot, with workers throwing missiles and mounted specials charging crowds. Both sides fired revolvers, including from the verandahs of nearby working-class houses. A number of people were injured, but none fatally.

See more images of Buckle Street during the 1913 strike here (Flickr)

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