The sight of Richmond’s Queen St being dug up brings back many memories for local man Doug Wilson.
Doug finished Waimea College in 1960 and immediately took up employment with his father’s contracting firm, E.D Wilson Construction.
That same year, his father Ted secured the contract through the Ministry of Works to lay the culvert beneath Queen St.
“The culvert that dad put up the side was big enough to drive a mini up,” says Doug.
So large was the culvert a crane was required to lift it into place, creating a lot of fascination for the young boys of Richmond.
With the lion’s share of the work taking place during the weekends to minimise traffic disruption on the then State Highway, Doug says the job that five to six men worked on, went on for a few months.
Because of the big open culvert, a number of bridges were constructed to enable safe passage from one side to another.
It was these bridges that created one of the most challenging aspects of the job when it came time to wreck and dispose of them, says Doug.
It wasn’t all hard graft during the work on Queen St nearly 60 years ago though, as Doug has many happy memories of sharing a few pints at the Star and Garter with his workmates, which became a weekly ritual.

Spread the love.