This page is for queries and general discussion about the history of Dunedin buildings.
This is a great blog, and what you’re doing is really important. The archival work is excellent and the writing is a pleasure to read. The photographs are a valuable record – any chance of plans being included at some stage?
Thanks very much Jeremy – it’s great to get your feedback. Yes, I will include plans at some stage and have come across a lot of good ones, though not for the buildings I’ve written about so far. They’re usually a fair bit more expensive to reproduce than the old photographs and where they’re still held by architectural firms I don’t like to make too much of a nuisance of myself. If I find a particularly nice one for a story I’ll definitely make an effort to include it.
I with Jeremy think this is a great blog. All the buildings you list have been demolished since the year I was born so its kind of personal to read through the list about buildings I have been in and even worshipped in. Thanks for a great blog. Do you need any help with additional pictures or need anyone to go and get pics of particular buildings or features of the city?
Thanks Ray – I appreciate the kind words. If anyone wants to help, the most useful thing they can do is look in their personal and family photograph collections for old images of Dunedin buildings and street scenes. Even photos as late as the 1980s can be gold. 1960s colour slides can reproduce wonderfully well with a good scanner.
I have a couple of buildings I’m curious about which might interest you. At the top of the delicately designed and executed Dowling St steps is a small enclosure overlooking the Princes/Dowling Sts corner. Within this enclosure is a large, odd concrete shape. It looks like a sacrificial altar or searchlight mount – I’ve always wondered why it’s there.
The other is on Crawford St, just south of Queens Gardens. Maritime House is the only building I’ve seen of it era to feature Maori decoration on the facade.
Also of interest in that area, the Metropolitan Club, Bond St, and the now pet shop on the corner of Manse and Stafford Sts seem to my admittedly less than educated eye to be rare examples of 1920s Egyptomania. The latter, plus the nearby and now empty building on the corner of Manse and High Sts are rare examples of fascist symbolism in architecture.
Thanks for your comment Gregor. I know the buildings but haven’t done any detailed research on them. I’d like to write about the old Barton’s Building (Pet Warehouse) some time and I think you’re on to something with the Egyptian touches, which seem to be mixed with an overall stripped classical style. The old lettering on the parapet emphasised your point unlike the plastic ones there now. Maritime House looks as though it’s an earlier building facelifted around the 1940s when it gained the crossed meres and other details. I had wondered if it was by Miller & White (who did the church at Otakou around that time) but that turned out to be a dead end. Council ‘deposited plans’ might shed some light on it, and also on the Dowling Street steps. I don’t know why the steps have that altar-like feature – it’s a quirky structure. I have a very long list of buildings to research but I’ll keep those ones in mind.
The small block at the top of the Dowling Street Steps was for a First World War gun. I played on when a young lad.
This from a newspaper . . .
It is safer to be looking at a German 77 millimeter field gun from the breach end.
Thanks Doug. I followed this up after Gregor’s comment but didn’t get as far as posting anything further here. The step were built around 1927 and it seems the gun there was one of many war trophies distributed around the country in the 1920s. It is said to have been taken to the tip and buried in 1936, when other trophy guns around the city were also either scrapped or buried. This seems to have been instigated by the ‘No More War’ pacifist movement and the Council eventually decided that the guns were ‘something in the nature of a deification of warfare’.
Yes, Dave I believe you are right about the destruction of some of the guns but I also believe I can remember playing on the Dowling Street gun when a small child in town with my parents, so the date of about 1936 in this case would be too early. I believe it was only the carriages that were scrapped as the barrels were too heavy to cart away so were dropped where they stood and buried just a few feet down, as was the case recently of the guns at the Queen’s Gardens.
Thanks Doug, hopefully through photos and other records the full story will emerge. More interesting digging about to do!
I have a newspaper photo of this gun so if you want it can you please contact me and I will forward it too you. It’s not a very good photo but the best I could lay my hands on at the time.
I’m sure your list is very long – I look forward to each item. I’ve been exploring the town ever since I took afternoons off school to take photos and see what’s down the old back alleys.
Thanks Gregor. Dunedin is rich pickings for heritage explorers!
In the Demolitions section, I am intrigued by the entry
“1968. Commercial Bank building, Princes and Dowling streets”
This seems to be the building I worked in from 1957 until about 1962. The business on the corner was called “Hardware Corner” (I believe) but I have a quite good photo of it taken around 1914 and would like to know more about it. Some tenants at that time were John O’Neill (Lawyer), Franz Barta (Photographer) and JRG Hanlon (Engineer). Is there more information on this building? Thanks in advance
Hi Dave. That’s a building I’m intending to write about at some point in the next few months. The corner portion was built in the 1860s but it was later extended in both directions. It was face-lifted in the 1940s and eventually made way for Cargill House. For most years there are Stone’s and/or Wise’s directories that will list who occupied it. Hocken have a good post-facelift photograph which you can see at: http://goo.gl/XikI9. I’d be interested to see your photograph.
Thanks for your quick reply and the location of the Hocken photo. Very nostalgic since as a young man I sat in the corner window of the first floor working away for around 5 years. Send me an email address and I can send you a good scan of the 1914 (circa) image by return.
You’re welcome Dave – and thanks kindly for the offer of the scan. I’ll e-mail you my address.
I would love to see some pics of Parkview (Willows) in Princes St. I lived there with my family about 40 years ago. They were owned by my grandparents, Anthony and Ruby Joseph and when they passed, by my mother and her siblings.
Someone else was asking me about that terrace recently. The Otago Daily Times ran an image when they announced the demolition (17 November 1976 p.5). It can also be seen in ‘Dunedin: A Portrait of Today and Yesterday’ by Graham Stewart, and some Whites Aviation aerial shots. I haven’t come across a nice clear photographic print though. Do you know when your grandparents bought it?
I never heard it being called the Willows.
I am still waiting on a proof from the ODT.
I’m not sure when the name changed, it may have been relatively early on. I hope they’re able to get you a good copy of that picture – it’s a great record.
Hello there, I have in my back yard a seat that has a cast iron frame with two fold-up wooden seats. The name Barningham and Co. Dunedin has been cast into the iron. We think the seat may be from an old tram. Do you have any thoughts or information you can shed on the age and history of this seat?
Hi Cheryl, I’m not aware of any surviving company records of Barningham & Co., although I know of at least one surviving catalogue of theirs (in the Hocken Collections). The best bet might be a tram expert, or the records of the Tramways Department held by Dunedin City Council Archives (http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/services/archives).
The Willows name disappeared between 1920 and 1923 Post Office directories.
I waited for about four years, but they cannot locate many of the proofs they had…
Hi I was looking for information on the physical address of “the City Hotel Dunedin” which is referred to as being operating around 1975. Any help much appreciated.
Hi Sean, the City Hotel (built 1877 and demolished 1986) was on the south east corner of Moray Place and Princes Street where Otago House is now. Street view: https://goo.gl/maps/mDgna. Historic images: http://goo.gl/znKEIp and http://goo.gl/3qcJA4.
Hi David – This was perfect and really helpful – you are an incredible resource and long may you continue doing what you do – Have you considered getting council support for the upkeep and development of this resource? I think it would be a good use of public money to support our heritage history!
Thanks for the kind words Sean. Although I’m doing my own thing with this blog, the DCC have been very helpful in providing information and some research I have done for them I have been able to recycle here.
Hi David – great site; only just discovered it’s a blog! Have you looked into the history of the Female Refuge / Forth Street Maternity Hospital = Batchelor Maternity Hospital at all? Or into the location of the first Fever Hospital? I’m looking into these at present, and would be interested to share information
Thanks Fiona – and welcome! I don’t know a lot about those sites, although I did look into the Female Refuge a little for the Joseph L. Shaw post (he designed the 1888 building). I have a few references to the new hospital in Forth Street opened in 1907, but they’d all be discoverable on Papers Past now. I’m not sure about precursors to the Fever Hospital in Butts Road – though the Heritage New Zealand report and the research for that could be useful. Have you found some relevant theses/dissertations?
Hi David. I’ve read about the change from the building being the Dunedin Female Refuge to the Maternity Hospital. I hadn’t known about the 1888 rebuilding, so thank-you for that. I’ll take a look in the papers at that time.
Heritage New Zealand has nothing on the first Fever Hospital, nor can the DCC Archivist tell me where exactly it was. From my research it was on the Town Belt, close to Hawthorne Ave. Building started in November/December 1875, and it was dismantled in Jan/Feb of 1878 and transported to become part of the Industrial School. The entire history of the building was plagued by controversy. Robert Stout managed to have it closed in the middle of the epidemic, just days before the Gloucester sailed into port with Smallpox on board. The Mayor, C.S. Reeves used his casting vote against the status quo to have the Fever Hospital re-opened. I’ve incorporated the story of the Fever Hospital into a novel I’ve written – as far as I’m aware no one’s written anything about it before. I am currently working on a new novel which mentions the Female Refuge. The creation of the Refuge is a great story: unlike the Auckland and Christchurch Refuges the Dunedin ladies were able to establish and run the Refuge themselves, and bought, extended, and had paid off the buildings and were self-sustaining within three years!
From reading Papers Past it appears that Shaw may have designed the 1887/8 addition, rather than a replacement Refuge. He also prepared designs for lying in wards for the Refuge, which were never built.
Yes, you’re quite right – the tender notice is for additions, although it can be difficult to work out exactly what ‘additions’ means in context. Sometimes they are quite minor and sometimes they are bigger than the the original structure (perhaps unlikely in this case). I can’t say I’ve tried very hard to find out about that but you might find more detail. I know Shaw’s wife, Juliet, was on the management committee. All the best with your writing – a great subject.
Fiona- you seem to have details of the Refuge’s history. Would like to know when the refuge started and if it was in Forth St. A brief history would be great. Currently looking into details of the place re birth of an uncle in there in 1901 not long before it ‘closed’.
Hi David. The others are correct – this is a wonderfully informative and interesting blog – even from as far away as Tasmania! I arrived at your site while trawling for information on a segment of my family, two bothers, William Bruce and Albert Line QUENNELL. They were both bricklayers (and sons of a master builder /bricklayer from Surrey, England). The Quennell brothers emigrated from Melbourne to Dunedin around about 1902-4, formed the company W.B.Quennell and Sons and apparently were instrumental in putting up many of Dunedin’s brick buildings in the first 2 decades of the 2oth century. Just wondered if you had come across references to the Quennells in your research? WIll get back to reading more of your posts now…….
That’s very interesting about Quennell & Sons – thanks Peter. I must admit I didn’t know anything about them but it’s a subject area I would like to explore more. My own grandfather, and his father and grandfather before him, were bricklayers in Mosgiel (their name was McLeod). Thanks also for your kind words about the blog.
I notice that in your info about the Gillies and Street building (demolished 1968) you refer to Donaldson’s Pie Shop etc. I have an interest in the demolished building because a relative T.J. Treacey operated the Carlton Private Hotel and Dining Rooms from that building before going bankrupt in 1906. I was recently in Dunedin and took a photo of an old four storey building on the cnr of Princes and Dowling Street – carved in stone in one corner is Donaldson’s Est 1862. Can you tell me anything about this building. Is this building related to the Pie man?
Hi Terri – yes, it was the same man. John Donaldson moved to the corner diagonally opposite where he built the building you photographed, which he called the Excelsior Hotel.
In the early 1900s my grandfather came to NZ and worked for Hogg & Co. He was a craftsman and built stairways. Two of these I am aware of are still in existence.
1) Penrose Building George St.
2) The stairway and surrounding woodwork on the Earnslaw at Queenstown.
In the 1930s he established his business with my father as hatblock makers.
Great history – thanks John. What was your grandfather’s name?
My grandfather Alexander (Sandy) Stuart worked at Hogg & Co. as a moulder from the time he finished his technical education in Dunedin aged 16 until he was called up for service in World War 1 aged 20 in 1916. His mouldings would have been in many Dunedin buildings, but of course there is no information now on which ones!
Thanks Stuart – no doubt some of those mouldings are admired and appreciated by the people who live/work with them.
My grandfather was Charles Fredrick Williamson. He was born in England and migrated to USA in the 1880s. He went to Newark and was employed by Thomas Edison until the late 1890s when he returned to England. While in the USA he married and had three children. After returning my father William was born in England. In the early 1900s the family came to Dunedin to work and live. He went on to work for Hogg & Co. When of age my father trained as a joiner at Hoggs before war service. In the 1920s Charles moved to NE Valley and set up his hatblock making business with my father William. My father continued to run the business after the death of Charles. Hat blocks bearing the ‘WILLIAMSON DUNEDIN’ embossed stamp are still sought after on trademe. Charles’s first born son (James) became an engineer, based on Andersons Bay Rd, and designed patented and made machinery to produce the NZ iconic JAY TEE paper cake cups. Still available in NZ.
That’s very interesting John – thanks for sharing the info. I should look more into Hogg & Co. some time.
Can you give me a pointer as to when there was a fire in the Dunedin office of the Lands Department that apparently destroyed a lot of the early records pertaining to many of Otago’s early sheep runs please? I can’t seem to find a reference to it via Google, but I’m told it was a significant event.
Hi John – do you think it’s possible this refers not to the Dunedin office but to the infamous Hope Gibbons fire in Wellington in 1952? Lands and Survey records were among those destroyed: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/41758/hope-gibbons-fire-1952
Hi David, Thanks for the response. I had found reference to the Hope Gibbons building fire, but my information was that it happened in Dunedin. I did check with the Dunedin office of Archives NZ, and the bloke I spoke to said they had complete records for the period I was interested in, i.e. 1858-1930, so I’ll have to quiz my source more closely. Great blog. Have found out much interesting and useful information. Thanks, John Clark.
Thanks John – glad you’ve found the blog useful. There are so many stories about archives lost in fires – sometimes they turn out to be true or partly true but I’m always a bit suspicious!
Feasgar math! I am a descendent of John Thomson of Dalkeith and I appreciate the care taken over the history of a couple of his former buildings in Port Chalmers. The ancient history feels close to me as in the Scottish way we grew up with stories from my mother who was taken by her mother to visit John THOMSON’s daughter Janet Ramsay Bennett STEWART (nee THOMSON) at the original Dalkeith homestead which later burnt down and was replaced by the current art deco building. When I last visited DALKEITH with my mother during the 1998 150th anniversary of Otago we went to Port Chalmers and Dalkeith where much of the original orchard was still intact. Will certainly dig through my mothers photos next time I visit my brother one that may be of interest we gifted to the Hocken Library but it is of John Thomson’s son Richard Dodds THOMSON and his wife Matron Elizabeth Ann and daughter Nurse Alberta outside the former Prince Alfred Hotel which they had converted into The Prince Alfred Institute and Dispensary a maternity hospital and chemist shop at 276 Castle Street, Dunedin. The building is sadly long gone but the photo is a beauty!! Richard was a drinking buddy of Thomas Bracken and they ended up bankrupts … so there is plenty to be read on the subject in the newspapers of the day.
Thanks Claire – it’s always great to hear of family connections to the places in the stories. Those photos sound good!
The Prince Alfred Hotel was at 340 to 344 Great King Street later converted to The Prince Alfred Institute then in 1926 taken over by the Union Felt Hat Co. The building was demolished in 1973. The photo you are referring to was used in the Post Office Directory in 1907.
The Union Felt Hat Co were probably in the building much earlier than 1926. The DCC archives has a photo dated 1926 showing the building with their company name on front.
I have now determined the Thomson’s were only in the Great King Street building from about 1905 to about 1909 then shifted to 166 Castle Street later re-numbered to 276 Castle St.
Has this fascinating blog mentioned the Chingford stables in North East Valley? They were the property of P.C. Neill, who is a story in himself. The actor Sam Neill is his descendant.
Hi Nelson – I haven’t written about Chingford here apart from a piece about J.L. Shaw, who was the architect of the house but not the stables. Agree there’s a great story there. Mason & Wales still have the original plan for the stables.
Thanks for putting all this fascinating research online. I stumbled upon this blog while checking out some old haunts and how they have changed. I always had a lot of questions about 60 Arthur St, beside the now defunct bowling green. Any thoughts of covering that in future? Or maybe it is time for me to go to the Hocken to try to locate the plans.
Thanks very much Mel. Someone else asked me about 60 Arthur and I’ve looked into it a little but it’ll be quite a while before I get the chance to go into more detail. The bowling club addition is 1906. Unfortunately there are no plans at Hocken or at the DCC for the first portion and it’s likely they don’t survive. DCC have plans for the addition.
Thank-you for that information. Sometimes not having specific details is quite nice since one is left free to speculate. I’ll look forward to reading if you ever get the chance to write more about it. There’s plenty of other stuff to read about here in the interim. For instance, I’m relieved to find the block at the top of the Dowling St steps may not, in fact, be a sacrificial altar.
Cheers Mel. You might be interested to read a bit more about the steps on my facebook page at https://goo.gl/jF4Akb
Hi David, renewing my search for plans for the Careys Bay Hotel. Do you know of any archives held for M’Landress, Hepburn and co? Auctioneers who held plans in their rooms for the building when they auctioned it in 1876. Wondering also whether they might have been absorbed into another company. Trying to follow any small lead at the moment!
Hi Joanna – I’ve heard of the firm but as far as I know their business records don’t survive. As far as the original architectural drawings go, sadly you’re probably searching for something that no longer exists.
Wonderful research and history. Just love old buildings – they tell you so much. Being an old former Dunedinite (writer of that little piece for the DCC 100 Years of Transport 1879-1979
‘By Toe and Straphold’) I captured numerous photos given to me in my research of old Dunedin buildings/houses.I have a nice photo of the shop frontage in the Octagon – ofGeorge Bailey’s Tailor Shop – taken around 1888. Bailey was my wife’s great grandfather. If you would like this photo – done by a local professional at the time – let me know. Cheers.
Thanks very much Joseph – the photographs certainly sound interesting! I will send you a separate e-mail.
Further to above – the building where Bailey had his tailor shop still stands today. The old Victorian classic facade has long gone – the building is just up from the Regent theatre – next to the old Anthenaeum building.
It does sound like a long shot to be honest but will give it a go. We are renovating upstairs at the moment and have found original linoleum and wallpaper as well as floor, wall and plumbing configurations that have brought up questions. The 1876 auction advert boasts of the hotel having ‘three bath houses’ as well as salt and fresh water baths. It isn’t the biggest of hotels with no large amount of rooms so we are theorising as to whether the bath houses were cubicles in one room or if there were a couple of dedicated spaces. Original plumbing points at the possibility of two spaces. One of these has a lovely arched doorway and the remnants of patterned ‘Turkish bath’ style linoleum leading into it. I’m guessing having bath houses in a hotel in Port Chalmers in 1874 would be a real feature and decorated as such.
That sounds very interesting – all the best for your search. I wonder if there might be worth checking any of the slightly later ‘Mansford’ subdivision plans (there are a few at Hocken from around the 1870s-80s) to see if they show the building footprint and any outbuildings. I would have thought ‘bath houses’ would normally be outbuildings.
I have been out of the loop travelling, but I was interested in Joseph Kenneally’s reference to his item on Dunedin transport – I’d love a reference. Plaques on the old tram sheds and the George Street bridge record the involvement of my great grandparents James and Margaret Park in the extension of the tram service, he being Mayor of Dunedin in 1901-2.
Here’s are the publication details:
Kenneally, J.M. ‘By Toe and Straphold: An Illustrated Review of Dunedin’s Tram and Cable Car Era (Dunedin: John McIndoe, 1979).
The original manuscript for ‘By Toe and Straphold’ was over 400 pages. The manuscript covered ALL public transport in the Dunedin area from 1879-1979. Gigs/hansom cabs/weekend horse drawn type open buses/motorbuses including the Peninsula Motors beginnings. Taxis/hire cars etc etc etc.Most of the photos were out of private albums. The manuscript hovered around the social impact of the changing street scenes-the business opportunities that came along with the advent of the electric trams and motor buses/the changing fashion/the major buildings that cast their afternoon shadows over the streets of the inner City. Alas–the book just couldn’t be. Not economically viable said the publishers. So I was left with a disappointing stapled memento. Sorry about that.
It sounds like very valuable research. It’s a pity the full book wasn’t published. Do you still have the manuscript?
Thanks for the reference to the 1979 publication – I’ll chase it up. Yes, sad the magnum opus couldn’t see the light of day. I wonder if something is possible now, in the days of digital publication?
Hello David. I was interested to read about the Ahlfeld building in Dowling Street. My great-grandfather was Max Ahlfeld, younger brother of Adolf and Wilhelm and he worked for the business. Wilhelm took his own life in 1905, I wonder if it had any thing to do with the burglaries. The brothers came from a wealthy Jewish family in Bernburg, Germany so it’s quite possible there were other branches. I am very interested in the row of shops that were where the bus depot is now, opposite the park at the southern end of Princes Street. A great-great-grandfather, John Robertson Reid had a saddlery business there (Reid and Maxwell Saddlers) from the 1870s to 1910. The two families were connected as John Reid’s daughter married Max Ahlfeld. I have searched at the Hocken and in Papers Past and looked in lots of books on Dunedin but I have never found a photo or any information about these shops except their listing in the directories. If you ever decide to research this row of shops, or find photos of them, I would be very interested.
Thanks Kahren – great to to learn more of your family’s history. Yes, unfortunately that part of Princes Street is one of the more difficult corners of Dunedin to find photographs of, especially from the front.
In Maclaggan Street there is a building being currently renovated (Nov 2017) and they have removed a cover to the building’s original inscription. Dunedin Jam Co Ltd 1933. Maybe one of your readers has some interest in this building?
That’s interesting Ian. I haven’t been up that way recently but it sounds like the building at no.71, built 1933-1934. You can read a bit about it at: https://goo.gl/breGY3
Hi David, I am wondering if you know anything of the work of Dunning and Black. Is the Dunning in this partnership one of the Dunnings you have featured individually on your blog for instance. I own a 1910 Art Nouveau heritage listed property designed by this partnership and am on the hunt for original drawings. The property is in Timaru, but the architects from Dunedin.
Hi Cheryl, William Henry Dunning was partnership with William Black from 1908 to 1910. The firm was actually based in Timaru although during this time Dunning had his earliest work in Dunedin as he was involved with the New Zealand Express Company project. The only ‘Black & Dunning’ jobs I am aware of are all in Timaru.
Do you have any information on the Shiel brickworks that were on Forbury Road, and the houses the Shiel brothers built?
Not much about the brick works beyond bits and pieces found on Papers Past and in books such as Alma Rutherford’s ‘The Edge of the Town’, and only a little about the two big houses built 1906 and 1909.
David, I always look forward to reading your meticulously-researched blogs. Fascinating, thank you! I have lately been looking for a photo of Mount Lodge, the home of Sir James Mills (MHR and Union Steam Ship Co) which seems to have occupied a good chunk of Melville Street from the corner of High Street through to Stafford Street. Toitu does not have a photo of the house (but does have Mill’s subdivisional plan). Has anyone ever come across a photo of Mount Lodge?
Thanks very much for the kind words Peter – I’m sorry there haven’t been so many posts recently. I haven’t seen a good early photograph of Mount Lodge. I understand it is the house still standing at 91 Maitland Street. From the street it’s a handsome perhaps 1870s residence, but aerial views show other portions from presumably various dates out the back. I haven’t looked into it carefully enough to write about it with much confidence. Presbyterian Support posted an image from around the 1950s on Facebook at https://goo.gl/HdR4Rf. This was from when it was the St Andrews House for the Aged.
You are a very interesting person and I enjoy your comments and history of buildings. I have a question for you but it does not concern a building, but a shop in Dunedin which I would like to know a little about if possible. It was situated between Hanover and London Streets somewhere, I think, close to Terry’s Bookshop. The name of the shop was Rexwear for Menswear which of course sold mainly men’s clothing. If you could help in this respect I would be most grateful. Maybe someone on your website could help. This is the trouble when you get to my age, 82, a lot of folk this age have passed on and my younger family certainly don’t know anything about it.
Thank you and reagards, Doug Hopkins.
Good to hear from you Doug. I’ve taken a look at the old directories and it seems Rexwear Ltd (men’s wear specialists) opened at 341 George Street around 1948. It was the shop immediately south of Terry’s at 341 George Street, between where Modaks cafe and Tokyo Garden restaurant are now. The business continued there until about 1958 or so, when it moved to 282 George Street. It looks as though it closed around 1961.
Those menswear shops were many back in the 50s along the streets of Dunedin. Out South Dunedin on the old Hillside Corner sat Alec Campbell’s menswear. In towards the City you had an Exclusive Menswear Shop over from what used to be John Edmond’s store. I believe it was owned by the Farrys. Then into lower Rattray Street on the left going up from Princes Street you had Charlie Saxton’s (that great All Black). Across from his shop was a men’s tailor shop – they mainly dealt with making school blazers etc. My First XI blazer took three goes before they got it right! Now up Princes just past the Dowling Street steps entrance was another menswear shop next to the jewellers. My memory must be drifting as I have forgotten their name. Further on you had DIC Menswearshop below street level and further on still HB specialized in looking after the young fry through to the golden oldies. Now down Stuart Street on the right hand side of Moray Place corner you had Reddell’s. This place was large. George Street in those days seems to be light in the menswear shops.The only one I can recall is Rexwear. Although I do believe Brown Ewing’s and Arthur Barnett’s also had ‘menswear’ sections.
Hi David, thanks for sharing all your historical research. Do you know anything about location or other details of the ‘Geyser Soda Fountain’? I’m told my grandmother Ruby May LELLIOTT worked there (I think in the 1920s) – here’s a photo: https://photos.app.goo.gl/7RDisrFx4hgUeU499. You are welcome to download & use it. I’m 99% sure it’s her standing on the left in the doorway – unfortunately pic isn’t focused. Do you know whether this was it the same place as the **Geyser Sweet Shop/Store**? Hence located at #174 Princes Street as per this ad in Papers Past. https://bit.ly/2J4od7J. The photo I have makes it look like the hill slopes down to the right – #174 slopes the other way on google street view. I’m not in Dunedin but the facade on each side of the windows is quite similar to the building showing in Google street view today. There are several mentions of the GS Shop/Store as a box office in PP from 1918-28 then it suddenly has no search results. Any insights on this mystery gratefully appreciated 🙂
Best regards – Rosey.
That’s an interesting query Rosey. Princes Street was renumbered in the 1950s, so what was no.174 in the 1920s is now part of no.320. It was part of Brown Ewings block of buildings, demolished in the late 50s. You can see a photo here which shows the same verandah: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dccarchives/15053481047. I haven’t found a good full street view from the 1920s, but there is a lovely 1880s view at: https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/object/20010 showing the buildings before the verandahs were added. Looking at the directories, it seems Annie Dodds opened a confectioners shop at no.174 about 1910 (she is first listed in 1911). In 1913 Mrs Brown had the shop, and in 1914 Eleanor Burgess was the proprietor. Mrs Burgess was using the name ‘Burgess’s Geyser Soda Fountain Shop’ by 1916. She may have had one of the ‘Geyser Soda Fountains’ manufactured by Clark Bros of Christchurch around this time. From about 1917 David George Gray ran the shop and he continued there for about ten years. The 1928 directory has the last entry as a confectioners and the name of the proprietor has changed to John Sydney Gray. It looks like the shop closed in 1928 and a boot shop opened there. It was great to see your photo.
Here is another view, from about the 1920s: http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/370944
A great blog David. I am researching a book about Chinese laundries in NZ. Quite a few laundrymen went on to open restaurants or cafes. Have you any information about the Speedy or Speedie (not sure which spelling is correct) cafe in George street run by Eddie Chin or the Tui Cafe run by Kum Yuen Chin? Both were trading in the 1960s.
Thanks very much Joanna – your project sounds great. You might like to look at the ‘Growing Up in Dunedin’ facebook group for info about the Tui – it has an ablum at: https://goo.gl/RoS8dd. I don’t have anything on the other one but could probably pin down its location and dates if that isn’t information you already have.
David, my great great grandfather John Brown Park was teacher / headmaster at Dunedin South and then High St schools. He and his family lived in the Education Board house at the bottom of Alva St – the marvellous photo in Hocken (https://hakena.otago.ac.nz/scripts/mwimain.dll/144/DESCRIPTION/WEB_DESC_DET_REP/SISN 214581?sessionsearch) shows him sitting in the sun on the verandah shortly before he died in 1891. Do you know anything of the history of that house? Was it built specially for them to occupy when they arrived in January 1864, or did it exist previously?
Hi Stuart – I know the house but I’m sorry to say I don’t know its origins. If I find time I’ll look into it. It is a wonderful photo.
Hi David – my grandfather, Louis Faigan, was a tailor at 158/160 George Street back in the 1890s… do you know anything about that? He also had a store in Millers Flat.
I know he was in a building where the Meridian shopping centre is now in George Street.
I am trying to find information about my great-grandfather John MacDonald of “Lyndhurst House Moray Place”, Dunedin, 1885-1902. There is mention of it being built for a Mr Robert Murray. I am wondering if it was one of the early terraced houses and if there are any archival references. John MacDonald died in 1916 and is buried in the Northern Cemetery along with his daughter Mary McCandlesh Macdonald who was my grandmother and married to William Gorrie who died tragically at work in 1912 aged 35 when he was one of the first mounted policemen in Otago.
I hadn’t heard the name Lyndhurst House before, but looking at old Stone’s directories and block plans I think it was the first (leftmost) of the three houses in Moray Terrace (see: https://builtindunedin.com/2012/09/10/moray-terrace-gladstone-house/). These records are not entirely clear as street numbers were not introduced to Moray Place until 1900 (when Lyndhurst House was no.45) and some time after that the number changed. I’m fairly confident though, as I have some knowledge of the occupancy on either side. The name Gladstone House seems only to have applied to the corner house of the terrace.
Hi, does anyone know the history of the bricks on the grass outside of the railway station? I think they were done in the 90s as fundraising for something? Thanks.
Hi Emma, if you go here: https://ent.kotui.org.nz/client/en_AU/srni and enter Anzac Square, you will find various Otago Daily Times references to development of the garden and sponsorship for it. It’s mostly just headlines, but if you take the date and page references in to the Dunedin Public Library or the Hocken you could look up the articles on the newspaper microfilms. Staff will be happy to help.
I agree – what a fabulous job you are doing – this is a very useful record and important work. It’s very sobering to see the list of buildings which have been demolished.
I hope we can save the waterfront industry commission building in Port Chalmers. Do you have any info about the architect?
That’s very kind – thanks Andrea. The architect was Henry McDowell Smith (1887-1965) and the building was erected in 1943 (see: https://Shrinx.it/sxxn). McDowell Smith was born in Manchester, England, and worked for Edmund Anscombe in the 1910s before joining him as a partner. He left to start his own practice 1921. He retired in the 1950s. Other familiar buildings by him include the Law Courts Hotel, University Lodge, the moderne flats on View Street, St Peter’s Anglican Church at Queenstown etc.
Looking please for any info on Philips Four Square store in Elm Row Dunedin. The fire service burned it down in 1984 as a practise and would like to see any photos of that area including the lane in Elm Row prior to the 1980s if anyone has them please?
I am trying to source history and hopefully photographs of Cafe Budapest which was in lower Stafford Street, Dunedin. From memory it was near Barton’s corner on the opposite side of Stafford Street and I think the proprietor was Erwin Steiner.
I don’t know of a photograph, but there is some discussion of Cafe Budapest on the Facebook group “Growing up in Dunedin in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s & 90’s'”. Hopefully someone else might see this and be able to help with an image.
Here is someone that knew Cafe Budapest
Thanks for that, Gillian.The article confirms that Erwin Steiner was the proprietor and was of special interest to me as I worked with both Roy Colbert and Nevan Rowe.
I’ve been fascinated reading through this site. Thank you for your amazing work. I am writing a novel based around a real character who first appears in the newspapers in February 1863. He would have arrived, I presume, in Port Chalmers from Melbourne late 1862 or January 1863. Could you confirm for me whether a hotel – the Royal maybe? – was operating at that time.
I’ve read the paddle-steamer Golden Age started service in January 1863 between Port Chalmers and Dunedin. It is likely most incoming arrivals would have used the paddle-steamer to get to Dunedin or some other form of travel? Do you know? Many thanks
Thanks Vicky, I’m glad you’ve found the site interesting. There were a number of hotels operating in Port Chalmers in 1863, including the Royal, the Provincial, the Port Chalmers Hotel, and the Anchor. Dunedin had 87 hotels in 1864. Without looking further into it I don’t know how many people would have taken the Golden Age from Port Chalmers to Dunedin in 1863, or another vessel, or the new road.
Hello David and hello Vicky. The disaster involving the Pride of the Yarra occurred in 1863 on the Otago Harbour. The significant media coverage at the time may well give you some information on the type of craft using the harbour around that era.
Thank you Dave – and Errol for your replies.
I did read about the Pride of Yarra and I may be able to use that in my story somewhere,
I don’t think the ‘road’ (which I read described as a winding narrow track) would be suitable for my character transporting goods off the ship at Pt C into Dunedin.
Thanks Dave for the list of hotels – most helpful.
Good luck with the book.
Regards, Errol C
Thanks Errol. This will be my seventh novel but the first one I’ve set in the South Island. I write historical fiction inspired by factual events and family stories. This one is a follow up to a story in an earlier book – The Cornish Knot – and is based around the Chiaroni Art Gallery (both past and modern).
Hi David – just FYI theres a building for lease on Moray place with some beautiful advertisements on the interior walls at industry-one.nz/For-Lease/19566-Beautiful_Heritage_Office_For_Lease – I’m trying to work out if it once was an exterior wall.
That’s great, thanks Heather. It would have been an exterior wall between 1907 and 1920.
Just found out about your city from the Jon Levi youtube channel – the ‘South of Tartaria’ video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grW5nmwUJi8 – looks like a gorgeous place! Hope to visit someday. Enjoy all that ancient architecture you have! Too bad they tore down the asylum that was quite a building.
Good morning. I was in Port Chalmers recently and saw the sign in the store at 21 George Street ‘Sutton Brothers Store 1874-1875’. I am probably clutching at straws, but my great grandfather William Sutton ‘disappeared’ (i.e. no records can be found) circa 1873/4 from the New South Wales goldfields and I was wondering how I can find out anything about the William Sutton who was the manager of this store.
This William Sutton died in 1915, aged 71, and was born in Perthshire. He married Margaret Henderson and is buried in the Port Chalmers Cemetery.
You should add 1 Royal Terrace to this site, it was built in 1885 and the whole ownership history of the house is posted up right inside
It’s a great house and I’m familiar with its history. I’ve tended not to write up anything already written up well by Lois Galer in her books or by Heritage New Zealand, as it seems more useful to contribute something new and previously unresearched. Not that I’ve had much time to write up anything in the last year.
I would like to know anything about the history of Plunket house, 472 George st Dunedin 9016. It is now the Southern community Laboratories premises. Or if you could point me in the right direction to find out about all of its history.
Is there something in particular you wanted to know? If you’re not in any hurry I could probably research and post a short blog post. It was built 1965-6 as the national headquarters of the Plunket Society and sold by them in the mid to late 1990s. They occupied some of it and leased some of it. The original architects were Fraser Oakley & Pinfold. It was renovated and facelifted 2015/16.
I’m in the process of working on a overall map of architecture of Dunedin and the coastal districts of Otago (to be published by Architecture New Zealand). There’s lot’s of material around on the older buildings, including your great blog. It’s a bit harder to gather info on buildings from 1940s to through the 1970s.
Knight & Wales’ book mentions three Dunedin buildings by Warren & Mahoney. Two I’ve found, but not the “The S.I.M.U. Building, Moray Place”. Do you know if this the building, now occupied by Westpac, at the corner of Moray and George Sts?
Sounds like a great project Andrew. The former SIMU Building is the one at 330 Moray Place which you will see in this Google street view: https://goo.gl/maps/Zene5ZbohebQhBZ99. The other building you mention is the former Otago Savings Bank opened in 1968 (Morris, Allingham & Harrison).
We would love to know if you have any information about 74 London Street? The only information we can find is that it was built in the 1900s but would love any other information if you could find it!
Hi Rebecca. The house at 74 London Street was built in 1883 and designed by the architects Mason & Wales. There is a photocopy of the architectural drawing in the Hocken Collections (from the original at Mason & Wales) ref: MS-1161/366. The house was originally the home of James and Jessie Mann and family. James (c.1842-1915) was a blacksmith and engineer and owned a fairly big business. According to the Cyclopedia of New Zealand: “This business was established by Mr Charles Mann in 1864; the present owner subsequently joined the firm, which then assumed the style of Messrs C. Mann and Son. Since the death of the founder in 1870, Mr James Mann has conducted the business. The building, which is of brick and one storey in height, contains a six horse power horizontal steam engine, a two ton steam hammer, two lathes, two drilling machines, three punching machines, and all other necessary plant for turning out engineers’ and builders’ iron work.” Although James died in Wellington both James and Jessie are buried in the Andersons Bay Cemetery.
I love trolling the streets of Dunedin, mainly in regards of supplying a NOW picture for local facebook groups so the many locals that are now not locals, like myself, can see the same building or area matched to the historical photo presented in the post. Sadly many no longer are still standjng. Dunedin was my home for this first 40 years of my life, mainly in Baldwin Street. I have seen more via google maps than ever I saw living there, and I got around, like most I suppose. I looked but did not see..,a common complaint for locals I think. I have bit and pieces of ‘stuff’ I occasionally post, a current is the Geyser Soda Fountain Menu so decided to research and thanks to your site found some info including an address of 174 Princes Street which currently is occupied by Propel Fitness. I have been bitten before with renumbering but sometimes just bite the bullet and run with it. Cheers.
It’s good to hear of your research Brian and I have seen some of your helpful posts on facebook – thank you. It is a good idea to be cautious about street numbers, which have changed a few times in Princes Street. When David Gray had the Geyser Soda Fountain at 174 Princes Street in the early 1920s that address belonged to a shop in the building immediately south of Wain’s Hotel. It was demolished in the 1950s. The building on that site now is 320 Princes Street. The street was given its current basic numbering in 1936.
It’s fabulous to catchup on this thread about Dunedin. We have been unable to get back there for a couple of years (like many others) but try and keep up with ODT as it has a few extra Dunedin interesting articles besides the daily news. Would love to read the FB pages you post pics on Brian. Love this site and thanks to David Murray etc. for allowing me to post on here.
Great website, thanks for all the effort that you must have put in. Do you have any information (eg architect, date opened etc) on the brick Dunedin Hospital building in Great King St (which I understand replaced the original one converted from the Exhibition building, and is now the Psychiatric Services building) and also the Children’s Pavilion in Hanover St?
Hi Chris, thanks for your comment. The building opened in 1936. Mason & Wales were the architects. It was referred to as the Administration Block, although it also included wards, the casualty department, an operating theatre etc. Mason & Wales did most of the Dunedin Hospital design work in the 1880-1960 period and also designed the Children’s Pavilion, which was originally called the X-Ray Pavilion and opened in 1944. As it happens I put some time intro researching the Psychiatric Services building last year and I was intending to write it up here when I can find the time and head space.
I am a keen woodworker and at the moment making a number of walking sticks as a fund raiser for the local cancer society. Over many years I have accumulated a lot of wood and are using this to offer variety for those who need a walking stick. One of the sticks is made from some wavy red beech and the handle is from an old door that came from the City Hotel in Dunedin when it was being renovated or maybe demolished. It was in Princes Street. The door was kauri and the panels were also kauri but what is known as whitetail kauri which is quite rare. The entire door was covered in shellac and patterns formed to make it look like wood grain.
With each stick I try to give the type of wood and where it come from. Unbeknowns to me there was a nail end I didn’t see until I cut the shape for the handle. Rather than trying to remove the nail tip I decided to leave it in the wood and hopefully I can add that to the story about this piece of wood. Given the structure, the wood type and the original finish. It is a very early door. After all that I would like to know if you can tell me the period the City Hotel was built. Thank you for your help. Regards
Barry McIntosh Greymouth NZ
Sorry for the delay in replying Barry. That sounds like wonderful work you’re doing. The City Hotel was built in 1877 and very extensively modernised in 1937.
I am about 75% finished completing a narrative on Norman Wood the Builder and his first wife Margaret Wood nee Hood. I am very pleased to see a few blogs mentioning some of the buildings he is involved in on your site. I will be visiting Dunedin later in December and wonder if you could make any suggestions on what archives and libraries would be good to find more information on his life and building works.
Hi Brent. That’s good to hear. Hocken Collections, Dunedin City Council Archives, Archives New Zealand, and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum might be worth investigating. You might need some newspaper leads, as even where a contractor has signed some surviving architectural drawings, that information is often not catalogued. Norman Wood jobs I am aware of that are not featured here already are the Oddfellows Hall at Ravensbourne, Sacred Heart School at North East Valley, buildings for Joseph Reany in Rattray Street, and Guthrie & Asher’s factory in Bond Street. All the best for your visit.
First of all, this is an amazing website. You’ve done an incredible job with all of this information and seriously, I’ve been getting lost in it! Could someone give me some information about the location of the original Stewart’s coffee bar in the Octagon? I know it is long gone, but I am having some trouble finding any information or historic photographs of the original downstairs coffee house. Thanks, JJ
Thanks for your kind words! Stewart’s was at 14 The Octagon. The door leading downstairs was next to the Regent Theatre (Stuart Street side). I last went there around the late 1990s. Later (2001-2019) it was Pop Bar.
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