170 Balmoral Dr, Invercargill

  • House. Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2474 Date Entered 24th November 1983


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 18 Blk LI Town of Invercargill (CT SL10A/148), Southland Land District, and the House thereon.

City/District Council

Invercargill City


Southland Region

Legal description

Sec 18 Blk LI Town of Invercargill (CT SL10A/148), Southland Land District


This modest Invercargill villa was probably constructed for Southland Education Board architect William Armstrong McCaw between July 1898 and November 1900. The house has historic and architectural significance because of its association with McCaw, who presumably designed and possibly also built the house.

Section 18 was originally included in five quarter acre sections belonging to run holder David McKellar in the 1870s. McKellar transferred the land to Jane Katherine McKellar in 1882, and she in turn sold three sections to Catherine Galbraith in February 1897. The sections were sold as building sites. Galbraith sold section 18 to Southland Education Board architect William Armstrong McCaw the following year. McCaw’s address in the 1897 street directories is Eye Street, and in 1898-1899 in Venus Street, and in 1900 on Biggar Street.

McCaw’s wife Annie gave birth to a son at Biggar St in November 1900 indicating that the McCaw were living there by that time, and the couple are recorded at Biggar Street on the 1900 electoral roll. Given his profession, it would seem likely that McCaw was responsible for the design and possibly the construction of the house. McCaw owned the property until 1907 and it has since changed hands numerous times.

The house is a modest single storey dwelling which has the appearance of having been modified from its original form, which may have been a villa with a central door and hall. Modifications in the bungalow style appear to have been undertaken, such as the removal of the central door. The curved timber brackets on the front bay window are suggestive of a villa and appear at odds with the plain knee braces in the arts and crafts style which could have been added later to the veranda posts, replacing original detail. The Heritage New Zealand field record form dating from 1982 refers to the use of asbestos cement sheets for the exterior walls; however this is likely to be a later modification rather than an original feature of the building, and probably replaced timber weatherboards. In 2018, 170 Balmoral Drive remains a private dwelling.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

William Armstrong McCaw

Scottish-born William Armstrong McCaw (1863-1935) immigrated to New Zealand in 1880 with his parents and eight siblings. After working on his father’s farm at Glenore, he entered the building trade in Gore and later practised as an architect. McCaw went on to hold the position of Southland Education Board architect from 1893 till 1929. The large area covered by the Education Board brought challenges - McCaw was often required to walk for miles to get around the district, although he was later assisted by the use of a bicycle, then a motorcycle, and eventually a car. McCaw was also a driving force behind technical education in Southland, as Director of Technical Instruction for the Southland Education Board, and woodwork instructor. His interest in and contribution to technical education in Southland appear to have won him much respect. McCaw came from a strong Presbyterian family and was heavily involved in the Church and other community affairs such as the St Andrew’s Scottish Society. McCaw’s obituary in the Southland Times described McCaw as ‘one of Invercargill’s oldest and most highly respected citizens.’

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1898 - 1900

Completion Date

16th April 2018

Report Written By

Jane O'Dea

Information Sources

Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography

A Roby, ‘McCaw, William Armstrong’ in Jane Thomson (ed), Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography, Dunedin, Longacre Press in association with Dunedin City Council, 1998


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 Area Office of Heritage New Zealand