Something missing at Cass


A few weeks ago my family and I visited Cass but something didn't look quite right.


We quickly realised that the 'CASS' signage had been removed from the railway station. 

Who had removed the signs, we wondered. Officials or thieves?

I decided to contact KiwiRail to investigate. On Thursday 2 June, their Operations and Charter Manager explained that the signs have been removed by their contracted maintenance provider in order to paint the building they were attached to. On completion of the work the signs will be reattached to the building. We should see the signs back up on Saturday.

If anyone is passing by and spots the signs back in place, do please tell us.

Here are two works from our collection depicting the Cass railway station, complete with signage.


Rita Angus Cass

In 1930s New Zealand there was wide discussion about what was unique about the New Zealand situation; what it was that made us different from the rest of the world. Artists and writers began exploring ways to identify our national identity. A number of artists began painting the Canterbury High Country, most famously Rita Angus and her landscape painting of the railway station at Cass. One reviewer in 1936 observed that there was a new quality in the landscapes exhibited in Christchurch that seemed ‘to consist in a removal of the romantic mists which used to obscure mountains and the Canterbury countryside generally. The light now is clear and hard, the colours are in flat planes, and the effect is of seeing the country through a gem-like atmosphere. There is also a new romantic standpoint – an insistence on the isolation and brooding loneliness of the hills.’ It’s a statement that certainly rings true with the Canterbury paintings of Rita Angus, Leo Bensemann, Louise Henderson, Rata Lovell-Smith and Bill Sutton.

(March 2018)