Albert Park Lodge

33-43 Princes Street, Auckland

  • Albert Park Lodge, Auckland. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Chris Stott. Taken By: Chris Stott. Date: 22/04/2009.
  • Albert Park Lodge, Auckland. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Jonty Crane . Taken By: Jonty Crane . Date: 28/10/2016.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 577 Date Entered 24th June 2005


Extent of List Entry

The registration includes part of the land in Pt Section 13 City of Auckland, Blk VIII Rangitoto SD (as shown on Map C in Appendix 4), and the building, its fittings and fixtures, thereon.

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Part of Pt Sec 13 City of Auckland Blk VIII Rangitoto SD - Auckland Improvement Trust Act 1971, s3(2) and Schedule 1: SO 46301 and Area Q SO 69920


The Albert Park:

The Albert Park Lodge was constructed in 1882 on land that was held under the Auckland Improvement (Albert Park Barracks) Act 1872. Legal title to the site of Auckland had been established in 1841. There is no indication that the land was a Maori pa site, although it is a short distance from Te Reuroa ('the long outer palisade'), a pa that occupied the land where the High Court now stands. By 1847 construction of Albert Barracks, the largest British military fortification in New Zealand, was underway. Following a decision of the Colonial Government in 1870 to abandon the barracks, 15 acres of the land was set aside as a ground for recreation and amusement. This occurred as the surrounding area became a focus for the construction of prestigious housing.

The Auckland Improvement Commission initially administered the land that became Albert Park. In 1872, it held a landscape design competition for layout of the grounds. Neither of the two designs submitted was adopted. The auctioning of 93 building sites in 1875 on ninety-nine-year leaseholds led to the development of small precincts of grand merchant's villas such as those that survive further along Princes Street, and provided capital for the development of Albert Park. In 1879, Auckland City Council assumed the responsibilities of the Commission and instituted a second design competition in 1881. The Council, which had come into being in 1871, had inherited 'not a single park' from the City Board that it replaced, and expressed the hope that the spot should be a public garden which 'would offer splendid sites for the statues which [were] sure to be erected some day or other to local or colonial patriots'.

Disregarding a petition that part of the park be laid out for organised sport, the Council modified the winning design submitted by James Slator and William Clark Goldie. Goldie (c.1847-1926) was later to become the Council's first Superintendent of Parks in 1894, a position he held until 1908. In July 1881 tenders were called for a concrete wall and perimeter fencing and by the following February construction of the park had begun in earnest.

Construction of the Albert Park Lodge:

Tenders were called for construction of the Park Lodge in May 1882, and by June the contract was let. The builders were Messrs Wrigley & Handcock, while the architect was British-born Henry Wade, who had recently designed commercial buildings in Auckland city centre, including the National Insurance Building in Queen Street.

A detailed description of the house in the Weekly News noted that:

'The plans of the lodge about to be erected as a residence for the park-keeper in charge of Albert Park, show that the City Council are determined to make that official comfortable... The lodge, which is Gothic in style, and is to be thoroughly well-finished inside, consists of a parlour, two bed-rooms, and kitchen, pantry and scullery, with coal-shed and yard at rear. There is a verandah 17 feet in length and 5 feet wide, across part of the frontage. The parlour is lighted by a handsome bow-window...'

The bay villa form adopted for the lodge was frequently used for provincial and central authority small house designs in the 1870s and 1880s, while an ornamental Gothic Revival style was often preferred for late nineteenth-century park lodges in Britain. Ornate architectural styles were considered to add visual interest and an element of exoticism, which complemented the associated gardens. The lodge was completed by September 1882 and had a double fireplace, which survives today, although two distinctive Boyd's ornamental chimney pots that graced its roof were stolen in 1988. A corrugated iron fence six feet high gave privacy to the yard, adjacent to which were separate out-offices for the lodge, and for the park workmen who also had shedding for tools. Water was laid on to the out-offices, and to the scullery in the lodge.

Applications were invited from landscape gardeners for the office of park-keeper and a Mr W. Boston was appointed. The lodge was finished and handed over to Mr Boston for occupation by the end of September 1882 so that 'he would be able to keep a stricter look-out by his residence in the grounds, on the depredations of the larrikins, and the trespass of horses and cattle in the park.' Fear of public disorder, or worse, in parks was a frequent concern in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is unclear if Mr Boston took up the offer of occupation, but William Wells, one of the Council's first permanent senior gardeners (who had been taken on in 1881), lived in the house until his death in January 1888.

Subsequent use:

For the next 20 years (until 1908) the lodge became the rent-free home of Edward Shillington (1835?-1920) and his family. Shillington was the first city librarian, and worked a short distance away across the park in what is now the City Art Gallery building. At that time, this building was effectively the city hall, housing the library, art gallery, mayor's office and other official rooms.

The lodge was enlarged in 1908, and apart from the construction of an office addition at the southwest corner ten years later, attained the external form it has today. The alterations of 1908 involved construction of an internal bathroom/toilet, relocation of the kitchen to facilitate installation of a gas stove, and construction of an attached laundry out-building with copper and tubs. The new century had brought a growing awareness of unsatisfactory conditions in housing in the city. A series of articles published in the New Zealand Herald in 1903, had brought to light the existence of working class houses in which there were no cooking ranges (merely a small colonial oven), no cupboards, no wash-houses and no backyards. While the residence of the Parks Superintendent in its idyllic setting would have been a far remove from those described by the Herald (one of the out-buildings having been converted to a bathroom by the installation of a thirty-shilling bath in 1888 ), calls for more stringent enforcement of building and sanitary by-laws may have made the Council particularly keen to ensure that the amenities it provided in its own staff housing in Auckland's most prominent park, were to a satisfactory standard.

After Shillington, the lodge became the home of several Park Superintendents, or Directors of Parks and Reserves as they were known after 1919. Thomas Pearson (1835-1930), who lived in the house from 1913 until his death there in January 1930, was a person of significance in the history of parks and gardens development in New Zealand. At the time of his appointment in 1908 as Auckland City's Superintendent of Parks, Pearson was the Government's most senior landscape gardener and was responsible for the design and management of the Department of Tourist and Health Resorts' parks and reserves at Rotorua, Te Aroha, Hanmer Springs and Queenstown.

The son of a Staffordshire nurseryman, Pearson had prior to coming to New Zealand, spent two years working in a nursery in Philadelphia followed by a period of employment in the gardens of the Governor at Hobart. Upon taking up his position as Superintendent in Auckland, Pearson had (in addition to work in the existing parks) laid out Parnell Park and transformed the 'ugly gully' behind the Town Hall into Myers Park. He was also responsible for the layout and beautification of the zoo in Western Springs Park. He is said to have regarded improvement of the area round the Auckland War Memorial Museum in the Domain as the climax of his work in Auckland. In 1915 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society.

After Pearson's death, George Fillmore and his family became the lodge's tenants, followed by Frank Fillmore who lived there for a 15-year period commencing in the mid-1950s. The cottage eventually became the parks office for the Hobson-Eastern Bays Area. In 1995 the building was refurbished for the clock collection bequeathed to the City by local philanthropist Bruce Wilkinson, when some modifications were made. The yard area to the rear of the building still provides facilities for the Council's parks department.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The building is historically valuable as an integral part of Albert Park, a designed Victorian landscape; for its association with the early development of civic amenities in Auckland; and for its close connections with Thomas Pearson, a landscape gardener of some significance.

The Albert Park Lodge has aesthetic significance for its ornate appearance and its setting in Albert Park. The place has archaeological value as part of the Albert Barracks site - the largest military barracks in colonial New Zealand. The building has architectural significance as an example of housing provided by government authorities for staff of importance during the 1870s and 1880s, and as a rare surviving example of the work of Auckland architect, Henry Wade.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

The Albert Park Lodge is closely associated with the development of recreation and leisure activities in late nineteenth-century New Zealand, including the creation of urban parks by civic authorities. As a place from which to survey behaviour in the park, it reflects historical attitudes towards public order and disorder. It also demonstrates approaches towards the provision of housing for Council employees in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

The building has a very close association with Thomas Pearson, a landscape gardener who, in addition to playing a significant role in the design and management of many of Auckland's parks, had an important role in the development of New Zealand's Government Gardens at Rotorua, Te Aroha, Hanmer Springs and Queenstown. The lodge was also occupied for a prolonged period by Edward Shillington, Auckland's first City Librarian.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history

The place has potential to provide information about New Zealand history through an archaeological examination of deposits connected with the Albert Barracks.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place

The lodge has some community association as a council-owned building in a public park, and is currently utilised as a public museum.

(f) The potential of the place for public education

The place has potential for public education about the design and development of parks, and other aspects of New Zealand history, being located in a busy public reserve close to Auckland City Centre and the University of Auckland.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape

The place is part of a wider historical landscape of national importance that incorporates the Albert Barracks, the main administrative buildings of colonial Auckland, a wealthy residential neighbourhood, and one of the most important early twentieth-century institutions for further education in the country. It is an integral part of Albert Park, one of Auckland's most significant nineteenth-century recreational landscapes.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Wade, Henry

Henry G. Wade (1835-1900)

Henry Greensmith Wade was born at Lenton, near Nottingham, England in 1835. He came to Auckland in 1863. Wade practised his profession in Auckland 'as one of the leading architects of the province' and also occupied various commercial and civic positions. He was a secretary and treasurer of the Auckland Institute of Architects. Wade appears to have designed the cottage in Albert Park during his 10-year tenure as City Valuer, which began in the late 1870s.

Wade's obituary records that he initially acted as manager for George Holdship, timber merchant, and was subsequently secretary and director of the Kauri Timber Company. Wade - like Edward Bartley, Edmund Bell, Thomas Henry White and W.H. Skinner - began practice as an architect in Auckland in the 1880s. He is credited with the design of Lennox's Block of seven shops at the corner of Grey and Pitt Streets (1881), Belcher's Block of four shops on the corner of Karangahape Road and Liverpool Street (1883), Mason's Block of eight shops in Karangahape Road (1885), the National Insurance Building (1882), and the New Zealand Government Life Building (1886), the latter two buildings both on Queen Street. None of these buildings have survived. In November 1899, five months before his death, Wade relinquished his architectural practice to his son.

Wrigley & Handcock

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

The Albert Park Lodge is located in the south-eastern corner of Albert Park, Auckland. Albert Park occupies part of a ridge overlooking Queen Street and the main commercial centre of Auckland. The reserve contains well-established trees and formal gardens, laid out in the Victorian style. Previously occupied by the Albert Barracks, the park is an important archaeological site and is bounded by numerous historic structures. These include remnants of the Albert Barracks Wall (NZHPT registration # 12, Category I historic place), the Old Arts Building, University of Auckland (NZHPT registration # 25, Category I historic place), the former Synagogue (NZHPT registration # 578, Category I historic place) and the City Art Gallery (NZHPT registration # 92, Category I historic place). The park itself also contains numerous registered structures, such as the Sir George Grey Statue (NZHPT registration #119, Category I historic place), the Queen Victoria Statue (NZHPT registration # 633, Category II historic place), the Boer War Memorial (NZHPT registration # 556, Category II historic place) and the Band Stand/ Rotunda (NZHPT registration # 538, Category II historic place). The cottage stands close to the band rotunda, just inside the park's eastern boundary.

A single-storey timber cottage, the former lodge is designed in a decorative Gothic Revival style, with some Tudor Revival detailing. Constructed in 1882 during the park's formative phase, it stands at the southernmost of the two main entrances to the park on Princes Street. Set among old oak and lime trees, the building provides the focal point at the southern end of the park's main promenade that runs parallel with Princes Street. Part of an original cast-iron fence survives beside the cottage, along the Princes Street frontage.

Visually, the building contains a projecting bay on its eastern side, and a verandah along the rest of the main frontage. Turned finials accentuate a steeply gabled roof, while the projecting bay contains a bay window with Tudor-style fenestration and a flat roof with decorative parapet. Delicate openwork on the bargeboards represents intertwining thorns. The windows on the eastern and western walls of the original house have hood mouldings. The roof of the lodge, including its additions, consists of slate.

The groundplan of the lodge is that of an L-shaped bay villa, with a central doorway and passageway separating two main rooms on either side. Those on the eastern side formed the parlour and kitchen, while the western side of the building contained two bedrooms. Gabled additions extend southwards from the rear on both sides of the building, with that on the east initially housing a scullery. This wing has two further small structures attached to its southern end, both accessed directly from the rear yard. The original section of the cottage has board and batten ceilings. Rooms added later have tongue and groove walls and ceilings.

Construction Dates

1995 -
Building refurbished and converted for use as Clock Museum, including: replacement of kitchen and bathroom, ornamental finials, decorative parapet above bay window.

Original Construction
1882 -

1888 -
Outbuilding previously used to store coal and firewood converted into a bathroom

1908 -
Second bedroom enlarged; pantry extended and converted to inside bathroom/toilet; scullery enlarged and converted to kitchen; and laundry outbuilding constructed to the south, on east side.

1918 -
Office addition to the south, west side

1988 -
Chimney pots stolen.

Construction Details

Timber, with brick/concrete foundations and slate roof

Completion Date

13th June 2005

Report Written By

Martin Jones and Joan McKenzie

Information Sources

Colgan, 1980

Wynne Colgan, The Governor's Gift: The Auckland Public Library 1880-1980, Auckland, 1980.

Graham, 1971

W.A. Graham, Decently and in Order: The Centennial History of Auckland City Council, Auckland, 1971.

Hill, 1985

Martin Hill, Restoring with Style, Wellington, 1985.

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald, 12 July 1932, p. 6; 28 September 1933, p. 6.

27 September 1882, p.5(2)

Weekly News

Weekly News

10 June 1882, p.6(3)

Conservation Plan

Conservation Plan

Salmond Architects, 'Albert Park Conservation Plan', Auckland, 1987.

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region Office.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.