Wellington Hotel

34 Molesworth Street And Kate Sheppard Place, Thorndon, Wellington

  • Wellington Hotel (aka "The Backbencher" Bar and Cafe). Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: ┬ęPhotographer Alex Efimoff / Alexefimoff.com. Taken By: Alex Efimoff . Date: 11/07/2017.
  • Wellington Hotel (aka "The Backbencher" Bar and Cafe) .
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand . Taken By: Rachel Connolly. Date: 10/01/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1449 Date Entered 10th September 1981


City/District Council

Wellington City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 318644, Wellington Land District


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Swan, John Sydney

Swan (1874-1936) practised architecture during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He formed part of the last group of architects to follow the traditional Gothic and Classical styles. He was articled to Frederick de Jersey Clere, working with Clere on many major designs such as the Wellington Rowing Club building (then known as the Naval Artillery Boat Shed, 1894) as well as smaller provincial buildings such as the Church of the Good Shepherd, Tinui. The firm was known as Clere, Fitzgerald and Richmond and was one of the most prominent architectural practices in Wellington. From 1901 to 1906 Swan was in partnership with Clere, practising on his own account from 1907. The first major design produced by Swan in this new practice was the Karori Crematorium (1907) which served to establish his architectural identity separate from Clere.

During his long and varied career Swan produced a large and wide range of work, including a number of banks for the National Bank such as the head office building in Wellington (1907), educational buildings for the Wellington Technical College with William Gray Young (1922), and a number of major buildings for the Catholic Church including St Gerard's Church, Mt Victoria (1910), Sacred Heart Convent (later Erskine College), Island Bay (1909), and Wanganui Convent (1912). He was an architect of imagination as evidenced by the design of his own house 'The Moorings', Glenbervie Terrace (1905).

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

2012 - 2012
A second fire in a matter of months, thought to have been started following welding work, was contained to a 15m by 15m area on the ground floor and the interior was badly blackened (Stuff 3 Oct 2012).

2012 - 2012
A fire gutted the kitchen and damaged the restaurant and bar area including the puppets (Stuff 8 Jun 2012).

Original Construction
1912 -

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.