Arrowtown Powder Magazine

42 Berkshire Street And Malaghans Road, Arrowtown

  • Arrowtown Powder Magazine.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith.
  • Arrowtown Powder Magazine. Post restoration. Image courtesy of Department of Conservation.
    Copyright: Crown. Taken By: Richard Struthers. Date: 15/07/2013.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2108 Date Entered 24th November 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 9 Blk XIX Town of Arrowtown (CT OT5C/411), Otago Land District, and the building known as the Arrowtown Powder Magazine, thereon.

City/District Council

Queenstown-Lakes District


Otago Region

Legal description

Sec 9 Blk XIX Town of Arrowtown (CT OT5C/411), Otago Land District


This small stone thick-walled building is a powder magazine, built to store dangerous goods such as gunpowder and explosives. It stands on a steep site on the corner of Malaghans Road and Berkshire Street, at the edge of Arrowt0wn. The Arrowtown Powder Magazine reminds visitors of the town’s gold mining history and the use of explosives to extract gold.

In November 1876 James Healy applied for land on behalf of the Arrowtown Corporation for the ‘purpose of erecting a powder magazine.’ Sections 8 and 9, Block XIX, were granted. The powder magazine sits on Section 9. These sections were on the outskirts of Arrowtown. Powder magazines could pose a danger, so a site away from other buildings was a good choice. Residents knew the risk – the adjoining section, for example, was passed in at auction in January 1880 with a note that the magazine was next door.

The building contract for the magazine was let to John Evans. The magazine was built in February 1877 at a cost of £90 (another article reports the cost as £40). It was designed to provide safe storage of explosives. Each miner was limited to one keg of powder and was charged £2 per annum for the right to store powder in the magazine (and another article says storekeepers were charged £1 a year).

The building has long stood as a neglected but curious landmark on this busy corner. In 2012 the building was restored by the Department of Conservation, after being boarded up for more than twenty years. The back wall was braced, the roof timber repaired, and drainage was added around the outside.

The powder magazine is square in plan (4.6m square/15 ft) and 2.5m [8 ft] high, built of schist with a hipped corrugated iron roof with timber double doors. The walls are .50m thick with an earth/lime plaster. It appears to have had an earth floor. The powder magazine faces Malaghans Road and backs on to Feehly Hill Scenic Reserve.

In 2013 the Arrowtown Powder Magazine is a local landmark at the entrance to the township.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Evans, John

Arrowtown builder

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1877 -

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

10th August 2013

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times

30 Nov 1876, p.3; 9 Feb 2012, p.11

Arrowtown Heritage Walks

Other Information

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from Otago/Southland Area Office of the NZHPT.

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.