Fitzgerald House

33 Coquet Street, Oamaru

  • Fitzgerald House, Oamaru.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: N Jackson. Date: 26/06/2012.
  • Fitzgerald House, Oamaru.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: N Jackson. Date: 26/06/2012.
  • Fitzgerald House, Oamaru.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: N Jackson. Date: 26/06/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2277 Date Entered 2nd July 1982

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Secs 28-29 Blk XXV Town of Oamaru (OT231/121), Otago Land District, and the building known as Fitzgerald House thereon.

City/District Council

Waitaki District

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Secs 28 - 29 Blk XXV TN OF Oamaru (OT231/121), Otago Land District

Summaryopen/close

On a prominent corner site close to Oamaru’s central commercial district, sits an unusual yet striking residence. Combining two houses from two different periods, varying in age, size, and architectural styling, together they form one of Oamaru’s most imposing residences. Known as Fitzgerald House for many years, it was once simply known as ‘The Doctor’s House’.

The first house was built on the corner of Coquet and Reed Streets on Section 28. Local stories hold that the house was originally built around 1859 as a way station – a place to rest and change horses. There are no available sources that support this. Indeed Deed Indices record the land was first granted into private hands in 1863.

In 1863 Section 28 Block 25 Town of Oamaru, the corner section, was granted to Adam Landels. In 1864 he sold it to Edward Fricker. Section 29 was granted to Fricker later in 1864. In May 1866 Fricker took out a mortgage over the property which may indicate the house was built around this date. The house was two storied and double gabled. Built of stone, it had nine rooms. Fricker probably rented out the new house as he and his wife ran an accommodation house at Awamoko. In 1878 he put the house ‘and other improvements’ up for sale.

The house was purchased by Dr Albert Isaac Garland (1845-1925). Born in Banbury, Oxford, Garland gained his medical qualifications at Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1874 and then became a House Surgeon and Physician at Glasgow University. Immigrating to New Zealand, he arrived in Wellington in the early 1870s where he was honorary physician to the Marquis of Normanby, then Governor of New Zealand. Garland then practised in Dunedin for a time but by 1876 had relocated his medical practice to Oamaru and was also Medical Superintendent of the Oamaru Hospital.

In December 1878 Dr Garland advertised the removal of his practice to the corner of Reed and Coquet Streets. The move to a new home and surgery was no doubt precipitated by his marriage to Annie Hassell in 1878. A son was born in 1879. In 1880 a pregnant Annie was thrown from Garland’s wagonette. Both mother and baby died.

In 1882 Garland married Annie’s sister Margaret, with who he had four more sons. The marriage again precipitated a new house. Garland built a new home for the family on Section 29, attaching it to the original house which now served as his Surgery. No obvious attempt was made to merge the architecture of the two and the new home dwarfed the original. Like the original, it was built of stone. It was two storied and was descried as a ‘square no-nonsense house’. It included a drawing room, dining room, and hall.

In 1910 Margaret died and Dr Garland returned to England for 2 years. On his return he moved firstly to Hamilton and then, in 1922, to Auckland. In 1921 Garland sold the home and surgery to Dr Walter Herbert Hargreaves. In 1922 Hargraves sold the property to Dr Robert Stephen Jordan and Dr Elspeth Fitzgerald. The house remained in Fitzgerald hands until 1974.

The house has seen few alterations over the years. The 1882 portion of the home saw the removal of a verandah on the eastern wall. The outline of the verandah’s attachment to the wall may still be seen. The original house was reroofed with iron. It originally had wooden shingles and these may apparently be seen under the iron roof. The Fitzgeralds installed a round window and narrow rectangular window flanking the main bay on the Coquet Street façade. They were probably also responsible for building the 1920s Arts and Crafts summer house and the Second World War air raid shelter, the foundations of which are still visible in the grounds.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1882 -
Second house

Original Construction
1864 -
First house

Completion Date

30th November 2015

Report Written By

Susan Irvine

Information Sources

Auckland Star

Auckland Star

9 July 1925

North Otago Times

North Otago Times

5 May 1864; 27 October 1877; 31 Dec 1878

Oamaru Mail

Oamaru Mail

20 November 1911

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times

24 June 1865

Otago Witness

Otago Witness

30 January 1875

Timaru Herald

Timaru Herald

17 June 1880

Brocklebank and Greenaway, 1979

Norris Brocklebank and Richard Greenaway, Oamaru, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1979, np.

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 Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand