Stone Bridge

Guscott Road, Pareora West

  • Stone Bridge.
    Copyright: Timaru District Council. Date: 1/03/2008.
  • Stone Bridge. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: J R Fougere.
  • Stone Bridge. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: J R Fougere.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 1975 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Legal Road, Canterbury Land District, and the structure known as Stone Bridge thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 1 February 2018.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Legal Road, Canterbury Land District


Built in circa 1875, the Stone Bridge on Guscott Road, Pareora West, is one of a number of stone arch bridges built of local bluestone basalt rock stone in South Canterbury that are an enduring reminder of early engineering design and have high level of craftsmanship. The Stone Bridge is still in use today and has historical, archaeological, aesthetic and architectural value.

Between the 1865 and 1880s, a number of bluestone bridges and culverts were constructed on the Timaru downlands, between Washdyke Creek and the Pareora River. They were mainly built over ephemeral streams which flow only in wetter periods, and in some cases replaced earlier timber bridges. At a monthly meeting of the Levels Road Board in May 1874, a petition was read from Mr Guscott and others asking the Board to build a bridge rather than a ford over the creek between Briggs’ and Guscott’s places. In May 1874 the Levels Road Board recorded that ‘the Engineer call for tenders for a stone bridge over creek on the road leading to Mr Guscott’s’. A notice in the Timaru Herald on 14 July 1875 called for tenders for a stone bridge over Pighunting Creek at Mr Guscotts. Elsewhere on that same edition of the Timaru Herald, it was reported that the tender of Jones, Peters and Hope for a stone bridge, Guscott’s Road, for £274 6s was accepted.

The Stone Bridge is on a relatively straight stretch of Guscott Road, around 200 metres to the north-west of the two storeyed stone Guscott House (Former) (List No. 2002), 161 Guscott Road, Otipua. The Stone Bridge has a span of approximately eight metres. The road width is 5.1 metres and the depth of the crown of the arch to creek is approximately 2.8 metres. The materials are squared bluestone brought to course. In his 1958 publication, South Canterbury – A Record of Settlement, Oliver A Gillespie records the construction of these early bridges as follows: ‘Before building a stone bridge, a wooden framework was erected to support the weight as the prepared stones were placed in position. Cement was used only for foundations and to smooth over interstices between the stones after these had been filled with chips. Stones, shaped at an angle to give an arch, were packed as tightly as possible. Those last to be placed in position were the wedge-shaped keystones which locked the whole structure and gave it strength. Once they were placed, the framework was removed and the bridge was ready to take the weight of traffic.’

In 1986 the bridge was repointed and parts repaired with a concrete skin.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Jones, Peters & Hope

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1875 -

1986 -
Bridge repaired and repointed

Completion Date

4th December 2017

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Stone Bridges of South Canterbury

Fougere, J R, Stone Bridges of South Canterbury, Timaru, 1993 (unpublished).

South Canterbury: A record of settlement, 1958

Gillespie, Oliver A, South Canterbury: A record of settlement, 1958 (second edition 1971)

Timaru District Built Heritage Inventory: From Mesopotamia to Pareora River

Opus International Consultants, Timaru District Built Heritage Inventory: From Mesopotamia to Pareora River, July 2004

Historic Stone Arch Bridges

Waugh, John, ‘Historic Stone Arch Bridges’, New Zealand Historic Places, No. 47, May 1994, pp. 20-21.

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 Southern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand