D.C. Turnbull & Co. Limited Buildings

1-7 Strathallan Street, Timaru

  • D.C. Turnbull & Co. Limited Buildings. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: 68bones - Graeme Partridge. Taken By: Graeme Partridge. Date: 6/04/2010.
  • D.C. Turnbull & Co. Limited Buildings. February 1993. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: Pam Wilson.
  • D.C. Turnbull & Co. Limited Buildings. Rear of building. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form Collection. Taken By: C Cochran. Date: 8/04/1983.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2055 Date Entered 23rd June 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 2 DP 75449 (CT CB43B/1282), Canterbury Land District, and the buildings known as D.C. Turnbull & Co. Limited Buildings thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero meeting on 5 October 2017.

City/District Council

Timaru District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 75449 (CT CB43B/1282), Canterbury Land District


The D.C. Turnbull & Co. Limited Buildings, a large complex of adjoining buildings constructed in different phases and in different styles from around the 1880s and early twentieth century at the sea end of Strathallan Street in Timaru, are historically significant in telling the story of the area’s prominent role in the grain and wool trade. The buildings have architectural significance, especially the 1901 building at the south-west part of the site which was designed by D. C. Turnbull’s architect brother, James Turnbull.

Miles & Co. Ltd was an old English banking business that expanded into Australia and New Zealand in the mid nineteenth century. In 1867 the firm acquired Le Cren’s business in Timaru, with Mr Fulbert Archer in charge from 1868. From 1875 the Timaru firm was known as Miles, Archer and Co. (while the Christchurch arm of the firm was Miles, Hassal and Co., later simply Miles and Co.). They were considered to be one of the best wool and stock businesses in New Zealand. The firm was very active in a range of shipping, storage and land activities and in Timaru they established stores in Strathallan Street from an early date. In 1881 Messrs Miles, Archer & Co. constructed a tunnel under the Terrace to connect their new grain store with their warehouses by the tramway. This ‘new’ grain store may be the three-storeyed brick ‘airy, rat proof’ building that was in existence by mid-1895 when Miles’ store building was taken over by John Mee. In 1901 the building was purchased by merchant David Clarkson Turnbull. Established in 1894, the firm of D. C. Turnbull had become a well-established and well-respected business by the early 1900s, with a diversity of interests and many farming clients. They were engaged in the wool, grain, and frozen meat trade and had their own sailing vessel of their own to carry consignments into any inter-colonial port. When the firm purchased Miles’ well-known grain store in 1901, it had new two-storeyed offices with show-room constructed adjacent, at the south-east corner of the land parcel fronting Strathallan Street and the sea. The architect was James Turnbull, the concrete and brickwork was carried out by Messrs Hunt and Werry, and the builder was W. Baird.

The complex of buildings is generally accessed from the 1901 main office building on Strathallan Street. This two-storeyed plastered brick building is on a concrete foundation and has Victorian/Edwardian embellishments such as pilasters, scalloped window detailing, dentilled cornice and parapet on its south and east elevations. The rear is utilitarian brick with a saw tooth roof connecting with the taller three storeyed brick grain and wool store buildings running the extent of the north half of the land parcel. Straight joins and slightly different brick treatment and roof height show where the original store building was extended to the west at an early date. Painted lettering on the south elevation of the brick store shows various iterations of the early operators of that building: Miles, Archer & Co and John Mee.

The complex of buildings has been added to over time, notably at the west end of the original store building. That extension was re-roofed in 2017. A 1940s aesbestos-clad corrugated iron store building that fronted Strathallan Street at the eastern boundary of the land parcel was demolished in circa 2010. The complex continues to be owned and operated by D. C. Turnbull & Co. Limited. As the range of buildings is no longer fully utilised, D. C. Turnbull Co. Limited is exploring alternative uses.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Turnbull, James S

James S. Turnbull (1864-1947) worked in a Melbourne architect's office before returning to establish his own practice in Timaru in c.1895. In a career which spanned over forty years, Turnbull designed a wide range of building types in the South Canterbury town, including Chalmers Presbyterian Church (1903-04) and a considerable number of large town houses.

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

W. Baird

Builder of the 1901 addition to the D. C. Turnbull & Co. Wool Store Building

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
three storeyed brick grain and wool store constructed

- 1901
two storeyed office and show room building constructed

- 1901
grain and wool store building extended to the west

- 1940
iron store building erected

Partial Demolition
2010 - 2010
iron store building demolished

Completion Date

4th August 2017

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Information Sources

Bracefield and Holman, 1995

Barrie Bracefield and Dinah Holman, Inventory prepared for Timaru District Council, March-May 1995

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.