Invermay Agriculture Research Centre

Factory Road, Wingatui

  • Invermay Agriculture Research Centre.
    Copyright: University of Otago.
  • .
    Copyright: University of Otago.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2350 Date Entered 27th July 1988


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The pioneer who settled this land was John Gow. He came from Dunkeld, Perthshire, with his brother, James and sister and wife in 1852. John and James Gow took up crown grants on about 1275 acres of land on the east Taieri in the 1850s and 1860s. They managed to buy outright a 50 acre section in 1852 from a land speculator for 47 pounds ten shillings and around 1866 the crown grants for many of their sections were approved. The approval of the grant implied that the settler had farmed the land for three to five years and made improvements worth about 100 pounds. (The criteria varied under the different Waste Lands Acts). John Gow built for his family first a sod cottage (where the Reverend Burns visited them in 1852), then a mud brick cottage and finally this substantial home. The Land Registry records show that John Gow was in residence early enough to have built his house in 1862 and the early records of the Taieri Agricultural Society suggest that he was thriving in sheep farming. His estate included what is now the Invermay Research Station farm and the Wingatui race course. The house mow has only 4.2 hectares around it. It was bought by the University of Otago. It is now used as living quarters for staff who manage animal breeding quarters built in the grounds.

Architectural Significance:

A solidly built concrete Victorian house of a wealthy Taieri farmer. If it was built in 1862 it is an earlier poured concrete dwelling than Castlamore and the oldest concrete dwelling in New Zealand.

Townscape/Landmark Significance:

One of the larger homes on the Taieri with some fine trees around it.


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Physical Description


Older members of the Gow family (Miss Gows of Outram) told Daphne Lemon that the house was built in 1862 which would make it the oldest poured concrete dwelling in New Zealand and older than Judge Chapman's house. Shaw and Farrant state that it was built in the early 1860s.

Architectural Description (Style):

A very simple two storied one-bay house with slight classical touches, such as arched window heads on the lower floor and pilasters around the windows of the bay.


The exterior appears to be unmodified and many of the interior fittings such as ceiling roses and the staircase balustrade remain. The brick surrounds to the fireplaces appear to be 1920s vintage. The billiard room seems to have been added at a later date, judging by two painted over windows in the upstairs hall which open into its ceiling cavity.

Notable Features

The size and age of this early concrete house, its association with a pioneer family.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1862 -

Construction Details

Poured concrete foundations and walls. The roof is covered with slates. It is a large house with five bedrooms upstairs and a billiard room as well as two living rooms and a spacious kitchen downstairs.

Information Sources

Galer, 1981

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

Lemon, 1970

Daphne Lemon, Taieri Buildings: with drawings by Audrey Bascand, Dunedin, 1970

Shaw, 1949

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

Other Information

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.

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.