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John Plimmer and Fritz

Artist Tom Tischler, Ross Wilson, Judy Alexander
Location At the base of Plimmer Steps, off Lambton Quay.
Tour directions Make your way to Lambton Quay. Across from the Old Bank Arcade you find the ally leading towards the Plimmer steps. You will find John at the entrace.

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In the colder months, it is not unheard of for anonymous knitters to knit both Fritz and John waistcoats and scarves.

Sculpture background

John Plimmer (1812–1905) has been called the Father of Wellington. In the course of a long life he was a builder, businessman and civic leader. He was a member of the Wellington Provincial Council from 1856 to 1857, the first Wellington Town Board (1863) and was on the Wellington City Council from 1870 to 1871.

His principal public service was the organisation of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company between 1880 and 1886. The township (now a suburb) of Plimmerton on the main railway north was named after him.

He arrived in Wellington from Shropshire, England on the ship Gertrude in 1841. As an entrepreneur in 1851 he purchased the stranded sailing ship Inconstant and converted the hull into a warehouse and one of the first piers in Wellington. It became known as "Plimmer's Ark", a centre of business in early Wellington, used as an auction house, customs office and lighthouse.

Plimmer Steps between Lambton Quay and Boulcot Street, and Plimmerton, a town north of Wellington, were both named after him

The bronze sculpture is based on a photograph of John Plimmer taken around 1900. Architect Tom Tischler used it to make a maquette, which in turn was used by sculptor Ross Wilson, together with Judy Alexander and model-maker Alex Kennedy to make the bronze.