Court House (Former)

34 Arney Road, Remuera, Auckland

  • Court House (Former). From: NZHPT Field Record Forms. Auckland City Council.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 603 Date Entered 26th November 1981


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 65233 (CT NA78D/768), North Auckland Land District, and the buildings and structures known as Court House (Former) thereon. (Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage List/ Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 11 February 2016)

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 65233 (CT NA78D/768), North Auckland Land District


The former Court House, in the fashionable suburb of Remuera, was designed for Albert John Court by Auckland architect Frederick A. Browne, probably in 1928. The residence’s sober, Georgian-style design was a departure from the Arts and Crafts style prevalent by the end of the 1920s, and may be regarded as conveying a sense of solidity and venerability associated with the standing and success of its owner’s family business - George Court and Sons Limited. Albert Court was the youngest son of George Court, the founder of the company, which operated one of Auckland’s largest department stores. Albert had joined the firm in 1912, becoming a director in 1918 and subsequently serving 48 years on the board. He was also a prominent owner of racehorses and an early member of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Titirangi Golf Club.

Remuera has been associated with the settlement of rich and successful Aucklanders since the middle of the nineteenth century. From about 1900, the palatial houses of the wealthiest settlers of the 1800s made room for the smaller, but often grander townhouses of the city’s commercial and professional élite. In the 1880s, well-known solicitor Robert Browning and his wife Kate (née Buckland) lived on a large section on Arney Road - considered ‘the most elegant residential thoroughfare in Remuera’. Parts of their holding were subdivided and sold over many years, with Albert Court purchasing the final remnant and removing the Browning house in 1927.

Court House was designed by Auckland architect Frederick Browne, who was also responsible for the Gluepot Tavern and other commercial buildings in Auckland. It was built by J.T. Julian and Son, a well-known Auckland building firm run by Albert Court’s brother-in-law, T.G. Julian – which was soon to be responsible for erecting the architectural award-winning St Michael’s Catholic Church, also in Remuera (1932-3).

As designed, Court’s house had two storeys and a basement. Its rich material palette, incorporating a brick base, a plastered top floor and a hipped slate roof contributed interest and articulation. Large bay windows opening onto views on the northeast and northwest further enhanced the notable aesthetic qualities of the residence. The main entrance was through an imposing porte cochere, leading into a large oak-lined hall, living room, dining and breakfast room, kitchen, porch and bedroom. Upstairs were three bedrooms, a dressing room and two closed ‘sleeping’ porches. Many of the windows had leadlight panes.

Albert Court lived at the address for the rest of his life. In 1933, the same architect designed a freestanding garage for the property. Following Court’s death in the late 1960s, the house had a number of owners, including Sir James Bell Donald - a merchant and trader who had been a Cabinet Minister for the United Party in 1928-1931 and was knighted in 1969. It appears that no significant alterations were made to the house until the 1990s, when part of the basement was enlarged and eventually incorporated a garage and guest rooms. Additions included a conservatory and pavilion. The existing garage was also extended, and an upper floor added. Much of the large lot around the house has been subdivided since the original construction of Court House in the 1920s.

In 2015, the residence remained in use as a private dwelling.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Frederick A. Browne

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Garage extension including upper floor rumpus room ; pavilion over 1977 terrace addition; conservatory

Timber residence erected

1927 -
c.1880s timber residence removed

Additional building added to site
1933 -
Original construction - Garage

1977 -

Internal layout altered; basement enlarged

Original Construction
1928 -
Main residence

Completion Date

3rd December 2015

Report Written By

Elizabeth Cox

Information Sources

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Laxon, W. A., 'Donald, Alexander Bell', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 7-Jun-2013


Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Mogford, Janice C., 'Court, John', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Oct-2012


New Zealand Building Record

New Zealand Building Record

21 Apr 1928

Carlyon and Morrow, 2011

Carlyon, Jenny, and Diana Morrow, A Fine Prospect: A History of Remuera, Meadowbank and St Johns, Auckland, 2011.

Other Information

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Northern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand