Galloway Station Homestead and Outbuildings

438 Galloway Road And Crawford Hills Road, Galloway

  • Galloway Station Homestead and Outbuildings. 2005 Homestead north east elevation.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Angela Middleton.
  • Galloway Station Homestead and Outbuildings. 2005 Outbuildings (from left to right - Stables, Chaff House and Men's Quarters).
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Angela Middleton.
  • Galloway Station Homestead and Outbuildings. 2005 Men's Quarters, north east elevation.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Angela Middleton.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2373 Date Entered 23rd September 2005


Extent of List Entry

Registration includes part of the land in certificate of title OT386/91 and the buildings, fixtures and fittings, thereon. See plan in Appendix 2 of Registration Report.

City/District Council

Central Otago District


Otago Region

Legal description

Sec 9 Blk VI Tiger Hill SD, Part of the land in CT OT386/91.

Location description

Close to the junction of Galloway Road and Crawford Hills Road, about eight kilometres north east of Alexandra.


Galloway Station Homestead and Oubuildings date from the early 1860s, the earliest period of settlement in Central Otago. The Homestead, Stable, Chaff House and Men's Quarters are constructed from local stone and show considerable technical accomplishment in the stonework. The complex tells the story of early pastoralism, and reveals the essential functional elements of an extensive pastoral run. The Galloway Run was taken up in 1858 by brothers Watson and Alexander Shennan. The Shennans also owned nearby Moutere Station, and were the first to take up pastoralism in the area. Watson Shennan was a significant figure in the history of pastoralism in Otago and a pivotal figure in the early runholder community. The homestead, and possibly the outbuildings were built for William Low in the early 1860s, after Low and another prominent individual Robert Campbell took over the run from the Shennans. Galloway tells the story of the development of pastoralism in Otago from its early beginnings through to its current operation.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Galloway Station has a special place in the history of Central Otago. Along with the neighbouring Moutere Station, it was the first pastoral run leased from the Waste Lands Board in 1857. The buildings in the registration, dating from the early 1860s, are among the earliest relating to pastoralism. The Shennan brothers, in particular Watson Shennan, are significant figures in the history of Otago and Dunedin for their place in the history of pastoralism. He acquired several of the largest runs in the province, was a pivotal figure in the community, and on his retirement, a wealthy Otago personality. He is remembered for his pioneering role as explorer, runholder and sheep breeder, and in particular for the establishment of the first stud merino flock.

Galloway Station also has an important association with prominent runholder, businessman and politician Robert Campbell (1843-1889). It tells the story of the development of land and business interests at the time when Otago's economy was one of the most dominant in the country.

The Galloway Station homestead and farm buildings have special architectural significance as they date to the early history of pastoralism in Central Otago. The farm building structures are architecturally significant for their vernacular style, and their association with the first European settlement of the area. Their design shows the adaptation to local conditions. Geoffrey Thornton notes that their simple detailing, in particular the absence of eaves and guttering on the outbuildings which contributes to their simplicity is a reflection on the dry climatic conditions. He also notes that the group makes a “worthwhile contribution to its picturesque setting.”

Galloway Station has the potential to inform us about the archaeology of pastoralism, in the layout and function of an early run. The buildings, all dating from the mid nineteenth century, form a complex that provides insight into the structure and operation of an early pastoral run, and are also recorded as an archaeological site, G42/247.

Galloway Station Homestead and Outbuildings have aesthetic significance. The stone buildings are set in well-treed grounds amidst the otherwise barren and rugged inland Otago landscape. The design of the grounds and buildings, including their use of local stone gives aesthetic significance to property.

The Galloway Station buildings are culturally significant as they date from the first years of European occupation of this area of Central Otago, and they are one of the few remaining examples of the complex of buildings associated with early pastoralism in the region.

The buildings have social significance, illustrating the role employers played in providing one-site accommodation on stations. These structures form a complex associated with the early methods of pastoral farming, when large numbers of workers were employed on the station as well as additional seasonal workers such as shearers and musterers, in the years prior to mechanisation. For example, on Galloway, mustering is now carried out by helicopter rather than on horseback, and few extra hands are now required for this.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

Galloway Station is representative of the history of pastoralism in Central Otago. It is the earliest run in the area, first leased by brothers Watson and Alexander Shennan. The Shennans are significant figures in local history, and imported the first flock of merino sheep from Germany, forming the basis of the flocks that stock the station today. In addition Robert Campbell's ownership of the Station illustrates the role of capital and large scale investment in the development of pastoralism in Central Otago. Campbell was a significant figure in both business and politics, and his involvement reveals a significant element in the history of pastoralism in Otago and Southland.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The Watson Shennan was significant in Dunedin and Central Otago's local history, and may be argued to have national significance for their early pastoral enterprises and development of the first merino flock in New Zealand.

Subesquent owner Robert Campbell was also an important figure in Otago's history. Campbell was a major property owner, owning runs in Central Otago, South Canterbury and Southland, as well as a politician and businessman.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place:

The significance of the Galloway Station structures has been acknowledged in Thornton's books on New Zealand historic buildings -with Thornton describing the stables as the "most delightful in the whole of New Zealand." Locally the Department of Conservation Community Relations Officer notes that the complex of station buildings is held in high esteem as one of the earliest groupings associated with pastoralism. The value of such buildings in the landscape is particularly important in a region that is increasingly under pressure from lifestyle subdivision.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

The Galloway Station Homestead and Outbuildings show technical accomplishment in the quality of the stonework on all the buildings as recognised by Geoffrey Thornton. Regional archaeologist Chris Jacomb considers the stone work in Galloway to be significant, and a distinctive feature of the buildings - in particular the placement of the large stones at the corners. The quality of the stone work, and this distinctive detailing is common to notable early structures such as Cottesbrook Station, Morven Hills and others at Bendigo.

The buildings' placement in relation to each other and in the landscape setting shows a sense of design, with that contribution to the landscape noted by Geoffrey Thornton.

(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement:

The Galloway Station buildings date from the first years of European occupation in the area.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:

The Galloway Station buildings form one of approximately seven station complexes still standing in the Central Otago region, all dating to the first years of pastoralism. These are a rare historic resource. As farm technologies change, such intact sites become increasingly valuable examples of past farming practices, histories and building types.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

The farm buildings, clearly visible standing in a row close to the road, and the homestead, at a distance in the midst of its garden, form an important feature in the landscape on Alexandra's outskirts.

Galloway Station forms a significant component of the extant Central Otago historic and cultural landscape. This is one of a small number of remaining complexes dating from the first years of pastoralism in the region, and shares with other such buildings similar construction materials and a vernacular design. For example, the Galloway men's quarters shares its design with that of Ben Nevis Station.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The history of large sheep runs such as Galloway Station dates to the earliest years of European settlement of Central Otago. Following the establishment of Dunedin in 1848, the Waste Lands Board was set up in 1853 to allocate pastoral runs in the country outside the original Otago Block. Many of these blocks were located in Central Otago, with those exploring this new country often applying for the first leases. In December 1857 the Shennan brothers, Watson (1835-1920) and Alexander (?-d.1862), paid a deposit of £20 to the Otago Waste Lands Board for Runs 220 and 221. They subsequently named the 28,000 acre Run 220 Galloway after their home district in Scotland, and the 12,000 acre Run 221 Moutere, the Maori name for a piece of land surrounded on three sides by water.

The Waste Land Board required that the runs should be stocked within six months in order for the lease to be taken up. The Shennans, newly arrived from Scotland in 1857, accordingly procured ewes and lambs from a runholder in the Clutha district in late March 1858 and then proceeded on an epic journey of several weeks driving the sheep through a snowstorm to Galloway, the first run to be stocked in the Dunstan area. Their first attempts at establishing the station in the timber-less interior was to build with the local clay and stones, building a clay and stone chimney, and living under canvas. Building of yards and huts continued until shearing time.

A depasturing licence was issued to the Shennans in June 1859, but by February 1860 the licence for Galloway passed to William Low, and shortly after Low appears to have gone into partnership with Robert Campbell of Otekaieke. Low also leased the Shag Valley Station about this time and used this property as a staging area when driving stock inland to Galloway Station, as did William Gilbert Rees when he had 3,000 Australian-bought sheep driven to his Lake Wakatipu run.

The 10-roomed homestead was built in the 1860s to the design of William Low's wife, the daughter of Dr. Andrew Buchanan of Dunedin (her own name is not recorded), replacing an earlier house situated on the banks of the Manuherikia River that was abandoned following a series of high floods. The homestead forms a central component of the complex of farm buildings built during the early years of Galloway station. Other buildings, constructed of the same schist and standing together in a row, are the stables, with a dovecote built into a diminutive dormer window, a chaff house and the men's quarters. These are illustrated together in Thornton. Thornton describes the stables as "one of the most delightful in the whole of New Zealand."

Land Information New Zealand archives relating to Galloway Station begin with a survey plan of the agricultural Pre-emptive Right No. 256 dated 1873, of the homestead block containing 62 acres. This plan shows the homestead itself, with the two gabled wings at either end, in an enclosed garden area. Two of the three farm buildings, the men's quarters and the stables, are identified just to the south west of the homestead garden, forming a complex of associated structures. The applicants named on this plan, Section 9 of Block VI, Tiger Hill district are Campbell and Low, confirming that Low was in partnership with Campbell at this time (other notes identify him as having sold to Campbell within a year or so, and remaining as manager only). Campbell is a significant figure in Otago history, as a businessman, runholder and politician.

A certificate of title dated 1880 names Robert Campbell as the property holder, suggesting Low sold out to him at this point. At this time Campbell was an absentee landowner, his address given as Gloucestershire, England.

In 1906 the title reverted to the Crown, Campbell transferring the title in this year to His Majesty the King. NZHPT file notes state that the early Queenstown settler W. G. Rees replaced Low as manager of the station, and that after Rees a succession of managers followed until the run was subdivided in 1916.

In 1949 the Crown granted a license to Harold Preston under the 1924 Land Act. From this time the station license has remained with the Preston family, the name of one of this family appearing as one of the current licensees. The certificate of title states that the license was renewed for 33 years from 1/7/1990. This title includes the original pre-emptive right 256, being Section Nine of Block VI Tiger Hill containing the Homestead and Outbuildings.

Physical Description


The homestead is a long, low single-storied, U-plan dwelling. The two projecting gables have angled bay windows. The inside of the U has been partially filled in with a veranda and conservatory.

The construction is random rubble, with large, shaped stones symmetrically placed at the corners. The rear wall has been plastered at some point, though much of the plaster has now weathered away. There is paving outside the rear wall and a small stone shed, probably a woodshed, near the back door. The interior of the house was not inspected.

The approach to the house has a large circular driveway and the garden has a number of large old trees dating from the establishment of the homestead. A stone-lined culvert runs along the west side of the house, bridged by a path to the house.


There are three farm outbuildings included in the registration: the Chaff House, Stables and Men's Quarters. All three are of random rubble schist construction, with large, shaped stones at the corners. This type of stone work, noted by Geoffrey Thornton in other early stone station buildings, uses huge stone slabs on edge at angles to form quoins. All three roofs are hipped and built without eaves or gutters.

Men's Quarters

The Men's Quarters are divided two rooms - a smaller room with a fireplace, possibly used as a cookhouse, at the south end, with an external door, and a larger room at the north end. The larger room has three six-light double-hung sash windows on the main (north east) elevation. The small room has had a single window in the north east elevation. There is a rear lean-to in a state of disrepair with a tree growing through the roof.

The design of the Galloway men's quarters is closely replicated at the Ben Nevis homestead, where the men's quarters, of approximately the same dimensions, have the same configuration, without the rear lean-to.

Single mens quarters, often combined with a cookshop, performed an essential function in the early days of large runs, housing the sometimes large numbers of men who worked on the stations. According to Thornton, "it was the custom for station staff to have their own quarters, sometimes located at a considerable distance from the homestead or 'big house'". These buildings were usually located in separate blocks, as is the case here. In some cases conditions in the men's quarters could be rather rough and uncomfortable.

Chaff house

This is a small roughly square-plan single-storied building. It has a hipped corrugated iron roof. There is a single door to the north east elevation. Stone work on the south west elevation reveals an earlier doorway which has been filled in. Two walls remain with the original finish to the stone.

Attempts have been made to repair or restore the stonework on two of the walls, in quite disparate styles. The front has had hard plaster pointing applied in relief, creating a mosaic effect over the random rubble. On the south wall, a decorative struck line has been applied in an attempt to bring the random rubble construction to course.

In the days before mechanized farming, when horses were essential for farm work, chaff houses were needed to store chaff for horse feed.


The Stable is a single storied stone building with a hipped corrugated iron roof and a lean-to to the rear. The main north east elevation has a large central stable door, flanked on either side by two narrow four-light double-hung sash windows. This elevation has a small wooden dove cote built into a gabled dormer on the roof. The building has a side door on the south east elevation.

Stables played an important role from the beginning of the development of pastoralism in the region, when horses were used for a number of essential tasks. In addition to ploughing they were necessary for mustering and also as a means of transport, both for riding and for drawing a number of different farm vehicles such as the buggy and carriage, as well as the hay wagon and farm dray. Horses such as shires and Clydesdales worked in teams of as many as eight horses drawing wagons, drays and other equipment; all these horses, as well as hacks and racing stock required suitable stabling, where they were fed, groomed, harnessed and sheltered.


According to Stephenson et al, Galloway Station was one of the 'big five' stations of Central Otago. The others were Earnscleugh, Morven Hills, Kawarau, and Moutere. The names of early Galloway station owners form a network of those who were involved in the history of many of the significant stations in Central Otago, such as the neighbouring Moutere and also Shag Valley.

Kawarau Station Homestead and Woolshed, dating from a similar period are proposed for a Category I registration, as are the Shag Valley Station Buildings.

Moutere Station Woolshed is registered as a Category I historic place. Its homestead and outbuildings were identified as having deficient registrations. Morven Hills Station Woolshed and Earnscleugh Station Homestead are registered as a Category I historic places (No.53, and No.7405 respectively).

Galloway is of comparable status to all these properties. Like them, Galloway dates from the first period of European settlement in Central Otago, and like Kawarau, Shag Valley and Moutere it shows the range of buildings required for a functioning station. For these reasons, and its association with prominent individuals such as Watson Shennan and Robert Campbell, it is worthy of registration as a Category I historic place.

Notable Features

Homestead and farm buildings consisting of chaff house, stables and men's quarters.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 -

Construction Details

Homestead: Schist and corrugated iron roof

Farm buildings: Schist and corrugated iron roofs

Completion Date

13th December 2005

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Beattie, 1979

JH Beattie, The Southern Runs, Gore Historical Society, Invercargill, 1979

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

McDonald, D.C., Campbell, Robert 1843-1889', updated 16 December 2003. URL:

Griffiths, 1973

George Griffiths (ed), The Advance Guard: Series One, Otago Daily Times, Dunedin, 1973

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

SO 7714 28/11/1873, Certificate of Title OT61/138.

Olssen, 1984

Erik Olssen, A History of Otago, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1984

Stephenson, 2004

Janet Stephenson, Heather Bauchop and Peter Petchey, 'Bannockburn Heritage Landscape Study', Department of Conservation, Science and Research Unit, Wellington 2004

Thornton, 1983

G. Thornton, Historic Buildings of New Zealand Auckland: Methuen, 1983

Thornton, 1986

Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area office

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.