Arrowtown Powder Magazine
42 Berkshire Street And Malaghans Road, Arrowtown
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
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.
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.
Public NZAA Number
10th August 2013
Report Written By
Otago Daily Times
Otago Daily Times
30 Nov 1876, p.3; 9 Feb 2012, p.11
Arrowtown Heritage Walks
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.