Lisburn House

15 Lisburn Avenue, Caversham, Dunedin

  • Lisburn House. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: James Dignan - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: James Dignan. Date: 3/04/2009.
  • Lisburn House. From
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Unknown.
  • Lisburn House. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shelley Morris - Madam48. Taken By: Shelley Morris - Madam48.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Registered List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1
List Number 2192 Date Entered 27th July 1988


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Lot 10 & Pt Lot 9 DP 6344

Assessment criteriaopen/close

The Fulton family who built the house were early settlers near Outram. James and Robert Fulton were brothers who settled near Woodside in 1849 and were later joined by their brother Francis and other members of the family. Lisburn was built as a town house for the family and Francis moved in to live in it in 1865. It was also used by other members of the family when visiting Dunedin.

Architectural Significance:

Lisburn House is one of the finest townhouses of the 1860s in New Zealand. Most of Clayton's buildings in Dunedin have been destroyed and this is a fine example of his domestic designing.

Townscape/Landmark Significance:

An impressive sight among the surrounding cottages and bungalows and a minor landmark in the Caversham suburb.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Clayton, William Henry

Born in Tasmania, Clayton (1823-1877) travelled to Europe with his family in 1842. He studied architecture in Brussells and was then articled to Sir John Rennie, engineer to the Admiralty, in London. He returned to Tasmania in 1848 and worked in private practice until he was appointed Government Surveyor in 1852.

He resumed private practice in 1855 and was involved with surveying in the Launceston area. In 1857 he was elected an alderman on the Launceston Municipal Council. By the time Clayton immigrated to Dunedin in 1863 he had been responsible for the design of many buildings including churches, banks, a mechanics' institute, a theatre, steam and water mills, breweries, bridges, mansions and villas, in addition to being a land surveyor and road engineer.

In 1864 he entered partnership with William Mason. Mason and Clayton were responsible for some important buildings in Dunedin including All Saints Church (1865) and The Exchange (former Post Office) (1865) as well as the Colonial Museum, Wellington (1865). These were two of the most prominent architects of their day in New Zealand.

In 1869 Clayton became the first and only Colonial Architect and was responsible for the design of Post and Telegraph offices, courthouses, customhouses, Government department offices and ministerial residences. His acknowledged masterpiece is Government Buildings, Wellington (1876) a stone-simulated wooden building and the largest timber framed building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Clayton was a prolific and highly accomplished architect both within the Public Service and in private practice, in New Zealand and Australia.

Additional informationopen/close

Notable Features

The decorative polychrome brickwork.

Construction Details

The house is built of bricks imported from Ireland with a slate roof. Polychrome brickwork had been used to produce simple patterns on a large wall surface. Roes of fish tail slates alternate with rows of ordinary slates on the roof.

Galer, 1981

L. Galer, Houses and Homes, Allied Press, Dunedin, 1981

Shaw, 1949

Margaret Shaw and Edgar D. Farrant, The Taieri Plain: Tales of the Years that are Gone, Otago Centennial Historical Publications, Dunedin, 1949

Porter, 1983

Frances Porter (ed), Historic Buildings of Dunedin, South Island, Methuen, Auckland, 1983.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.