North East Valley War Memorial

248 North Road, North East Valley, Dunedin

  • North East Valley War Memorial.
    Copyright: Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Ben Hill. Date: 14/08/2009.
  • North East Valley War Memorial.
    Copyright: Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Ben Hill. Date: 14/08/2009.
  • North East Valley School and war memorial, Dunedin. Original photographic prints and postcards from file print collection, Box 6. Ref: PAColl-5932-13. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.]. Image date: circa 1920s. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library must be obtained before reuse of this image..
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Taken By: Unknown.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 3183 Date Entered 2nd July 1982


Extent of List Entry

The extent includes part of the land described as Pt Sec 20 North East Valley SD (CT OT263/293; NZ Gazette, 1986 pp. 4466-67), Otago Land District, and the structure known as the North East Valley War Memorial and the associated gates, thereon.

City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 20 North East Valley SD (CT OT263/293; NZ Gazette, 1986 pp. 4466-67), Otago Land District


Passing under the arch of the North East Valley War Memorial beneath the gaze of a marble soldier, the children of North East Valley Normal School, and the area’s residents are inspired to remember local men who lost their lives in war. Unveiled in 1921, the memorial has historic significance as it demonstrates the community’s way of expressing grief and remembering those men who died in the South African War, World War One and World War Two.

The North East Valley school committee discussed firm plans for a war memorial in 1919. Local businessman and committee member George Calder presented sketch plans and an estimate of cost. The memorial arch committee took over the project and organised community fundraising events.

The foundation stone was laid on Anzac Day in 1920 and the memorial was dedicated a year later. It was designed by Dunedin architect Leslie Coombs, who also designed the Otago Boy’s High School war memorial arch, and the memorial arch at High Street School. The North East Valley War Memorial is the main pedestrian entrance to North East Valley Normal School. The arch is built of bluestone and Oamaru stone, with marble panels engraved with the names of the men who died in the three conflicts. A marble soldier is mounted on a pediment over the head of the arch. Wrought iron gates are hung in the opening.

When the North East Valley School celebrated its centenary in 1951, two further memorial plaques were added, remembering the men who lost their lives in the South African War and World War Two. In 1969, the memorial was strengthened after being judged to be an earthquake risk and the soldier was removed from the top of the arch. The soldier was returned to his post overlooking North Road in 2007. In 2014, the North East Valley War Memorial stands as a landmark in this Dunedin suburb.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

H S Bingham & Co.

Stonemason Henry Sydney Bingham formed H.S. Bingham Monumental Masons about 1911. Later the company was known as H.S. Bingham and Co. The company was involved in many of Dunedin’s major building projects, including the renovation of First Church in 1933 and Knox College. The company also built a number of memorials including the cenotaph at Queens Gardens, the North East Valley War Memorial, the war memorial gates at High Street School and the McKenzie Memorial Cairn on Puketapu hill above Palmerston.

(Source: Information Upgrade Report, Heather Bauchop, Apr 2014)

Coombs, Leslie D (1885-1952)

Leslie Coombs was born and educated in Dunedin where he served his articles with J L Salmond. After working for Joshua Charlesworth in Wellington Coombs visited England in the early 1910s and then entered into a brief partnership with Edmund Anscombe on his return to Dunedin. In the mid-1920s Coombs again partnered with another architect, J H White, and it was at this time (1925-6) that he designed the Lawrence and Invercargill war memorials.

With the exception of a nine year period spent working as the Building Surveyor for the Dunedin City Council (1932-41) Coombs spent most of his career in private practice designing educational, memorial, industrial and residential buildings, including Southland Girls' High School and the Science Building and War Memorial at Otago Boys' High School. Coombs promoted the establishment of the Architectural Students' Association and was the assessor of the 1920 design competition for Christchurch's Bridge of Remembrance. (Index of NZ Architects, University of Canterbury).

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1969 -
Soldier removed from the top of the memorial

Structural upgrade
1969 -
Arch strengthened

2007 -
Soldier returned to memorial

Original Construction
1920 - 1921

Completion Date

2nd April 2014

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

MacLean, 1990

Chris MacLean and Jock Phillips, The Sorrow and the Pride: New Zealand War Memorials, Wellington, 1990

Proceedings, New Zealand Institute of Architects

Coombs, Leslie, ‘Monuments’, in Proceedings 1918-19 Vol. No. II, New Zealand Institute of Architects, New Zealand Institute of Architects, Wellington, pp. 34-37.

Hendry, 1976

Hendry, Carole, Ferguslei to Hawthorne: The story of the development of North East Valley, [Carole Hendry], Dunedin, 1976.

Other Information

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Area Office of the NZHPT.

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.