Obsolete: Cadbury Dairy building

Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Obsolete item: The former Cadbury dairy building in Dunedin.

Born: 1868, as a sawmill.

Death: Narrowly averted in 2021.

Use: Storage of glasses and halves of milk for chocolate making.

Description: It was sad to see the Cadbury chocolate factory go, and to miss its yummy scents, lately no longer polluted by the neighbouring McLeod Bros soap factory. Planners of the new hospital briefly looked at building the facility behind the old walls and found this would have cost between $32 million and $74 million extra, perhaps an inappropriate use of scarce health funds. Nice of them to check though.

The oldest building in the complex remains, tucked in a corner next to the Otago Daily Times buildings. Chocolatier Richard Hudson used it as a dairy from 1875 and later it became Cadbury’s machine room. Long stripped of all its ornate filigree, it stood for many decades in beige blandness among the other factory walls, until getting a new roof and a quite realistic replica facade in modern materials, intended to provide a new entrance to chocolate-themed attraction Cadbury World.

As heritage projects go, the building is a "grandfather’s axe", with so much already replaced that only the idea remains. But it’s always nice to see an old building fixed up, preventing waste to landfill and the pollution and energy embodied in replacement materials.

Comeback: Likely to be "adaptively reused" for non-clinical purposes by the new hospital.


— Peter Dowden




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