Hay’s Building (Former)

229-237 Stafford Street And Strathallan Street, Timaru

  • Hay’s Building (Former). Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Graeme Partridge. Taken By: Graeme Partridge. Date: 6/04/2010.
  • Hay’s Building (Former) February 1993. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: Pam Wilson.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2048 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 2486 (CT CB28A/20) and part of the land described as Pt Lot 20 DP 1106 (CT CB28A/18) and Pt Lot 34 DP 1 (CT CB28A/19), Canterbury Land District, and the building known as Hay’s Building (Former) thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 6 September 2017.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 20 DP 1106 (CT CB28A/18), Pt Lot 34 DP 1 (CT CB28A/19) and Lot 2 DP 2486 (CT CB28A/20), Canterbury Land District


Hay’s Building (Former), constructed as an investment property for well-known Canterbury agriculturalist and pastoralist, William Hay, is a prominent three storeyed commercial building with a curved façade on the corner of Stafford and Strathallan Streets in central Timaru. It has historical value in the story it tells of twentieth century commercial activity and architectural significance as an example of a large Edwardian building designed by architect, Thomas Courthard Mullions.

In his early life, in the 1870s, William Hay worked with his father, Ebenezer Hay, at Annandale, Pigeon Bay, and later became associated with the New Zealand and Australian Land Company, acting for some years as sub-general manager. For a time he managed the Totara Estate and, after subsequently farming at Tycho, near the Levels Estate, he sold up and moved to Timaru. In his retirement, in February 1907, William Hay purchased the land parcel on the corner of Stafford and Strathallan Streets in central Timaru from Sarah Anne Rhodes, William Barton and John Duncan. He commissioned architect Thomas Coulthard Mullions to design a three storeyed commercial building for the site and this was constructed in 1908. Named Hay’s Building, it was gradually occupied as various portions were completed. By May 1908 the tenants in occupation were, on the ground floor, the Timaru A. & P. Society, the Government Life and Accident Insurance Department, the Government Fire Insurance Department, a solicitor and a farm sales company. On the first floor was a dentist, engineer and surveyor, the architect of the building T Coulthard Mullions, and meat salesmen. The top floor, less sub-divided than the lower floors, was occupied by three tenants – the Timaru Football Club, the Timaru Ladies’ Club and Tyrol tearoom.

Constructed of brick, concrete and plaster, Hay’s Building (Former) is an Edwardian building with classical influences. Its curved façade is embellished with pilasters, capitals, open bed pediments, varied arch windows, oriel windows and cartouches. The inverted curved rear of the building, obscured from the street, is considerably plainer, in red brick, and has a variety of low additions in brick and concrete block. The interior has been refurbished over time but contains some features that may date to the original construction – these include an electric lift and staircase with timber balustrade, lit by a lead-light window. The architect, Thomas Coulthard Mullions (1878-1957), had arrived in Timaru in 1904 and developed a strong practice, designing many residential and commercial buildings in the district.

A fire occurred in the Hay’s Building at midnight 1 March 1910, damaging furniture and stock. Later that year, in August 1910, William Hay died and the property passed to his estate. The building subsequently became known as the Colonial Mutual Life Assurance building (or C.M.L. Building for short). On 17 April 1951 the top floor of the C.M.L. Building was badly damaged by fire. Post-fire renovations and strengthening was carried out in 1954-55 by C.M.L.’s architect, Mr P W Rule, and engineer, Mr G Powell of Christchurch. Strengthening involved erecting a steel and concrete framework within the building and a replacement roof to a new design was carried out by C Lund and Son. In recent years the building has been unoccupied, awaiting strengthening and/or redevelopment.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Thomas Coulthard Mullions

Architect of Hay’s Building (Former), Timaru - 1908

Hunt and Werry (Builders)

Builders of Hay’s Building (Former), Timaru - 1908 and the concrete and brickwork for the D.C. Turnbull & Co. Limited Buildings, Timaru - 1901

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1908 -

Damage by fire and subsequent repair and strengthening

Completion Date

3rd August 2017

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Guthrie Hay, 1901

Guthrie Hay, H. L., Annandale Past and Present 1839-1900, Christchurch, 1901, URL: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-HayAnna.html (accessed 20 July 2017)

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.