Roslyn Presbyterian Church

19-21 Highgate, Roslyn, Dunedin

  • Roslyn Presbyterian Church.
    Copyright: Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Ben Hill. Date: 8/08/2009.
  • .
    Copyright: Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Ben Hill. Date: 8/08/2009.
    Copyright: Beth Wishart. Taken By: Beth Wishart. Date: 12/02/2011.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 3377 Date Entered 13th December 1990


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 2 DP 12320 Lot 1 DP 23353



The suburb of Roslyn was founded in the 1860s when James Kilgour subdivided his farm 'Roslyn'. Progress in the suburbs was slow until the 1890s when settlement accelerated and in 1899 a Presbytery Commission recognised the need to extend its services into the suburbs. Most of Roslyn had previously been in the parish of First Church.

The front part of the Sunday School building was completed in 1901 and in 1903 the church site was purchased. Construction began soon after and the church was opened on 11 September 1904. The cost, including the furnishings and organ, was over £3,000. A manse was built in 1908. The belfry and bell were donated in 1911 and following World War I a memorial window and roll of honour were added.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Following the growth of Roslyn in the 1890s, Roslyn Presbyterian Church was constructed early this century and has served Presbyterian congregations for 86 years.


Roslyn Presbyterian Church is a fine example of a medium scale Gothic Revival church constructed in permanent materials. The use of Oamaru stone and brick adds much to the decorative quality of the exterior while the interior is an ornately adorned space. This compact, attractive church is a well-known city landmark.


Roslyn Church occupies a prominent site on a ridge above Dunedin and is a landmark which can be seen from many parts of the city.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Salmond, James Louis

James Louis Salmond (1868-1950) was born in North Shields, England. He was educated at Otago Boys' High School and began his career articled to Robert Arthur Lawson (1833-1902). Salmond initially practised on his own account but later rejoined Lawson in partnership. Salmond took over the practice when Lawson died in 1902.

Salmond was the architect of over 20 churches in Otago including the Presbyterian churches at Roslyn, Kaikorai, North Dunedin and the Wesleyan church at Mornington. He designed many private residences including Watson Shennan's house at 367 High Street, as well as those at 114 Cargill Street and 14 Pitt Street, all in Dunedin.

Salmond was president of the Otago Art Society, and also served a term as president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

His son Arthur joined the firm having studied in London and his grandson John continues to work in the firm today. It is now known as Salmond Anderson Architects.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


This Edwardian Gothic Revival church is orientated south-west to north-east with the sanctuary lying in the south-west. Constructed in red brick with Oamaru stone detailing, the contrast in colour emphasises the decorative quality of such elements as angle buttresses, pointed arches, window tracery, hood-moulds, gable ends, banding within the gable ends and a string course at approximately mid-height.

The overall form of the building is somewhat cubic with orthogonal pitched roofs. Where the roofs intersect there is a delicate turret with louvres, gablets and a finial. The turret is visually related to a belfry, located in the east corner, with gablets and a pavilion roof on posts with brackets in the form of pointed arches.

The flat roofed entry to the building is at the north-east end and has continuity with the main part of the building through the use of pointed arches, angle buttresses and the string course.

The interior has a floor which slopes toward the altar and a steeply raked gallery. The gallery is supported on two rows of pillars and has an ornate balcony. Likewise, the ceiling is ornately plastered, and has five elaborate ventilator grills. Walls are panelled to about shoulder height with lath and plaster above, grooved to simulate stone blocks.


1926: Addition of Robing Room

1966: Remodelling and addition of kitchen and Sunday School Room

1983: Digital organ installed

Notable Features

Corner belfry and pinnacle-like turret.

Ornately plastered ceiling.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1904 -

1926 -
Addition of Robing Room

1966 -
Remodelling and addition of kitchen and Sunday School Room

1983 -
Digital organ installed

Construction Details

Brick walls in the English garden wall bond with Oamaru stone facings, tracery and buttresses. Slate roof.

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905

Knight, 1988

Hardwicke Knight and Niel Wales, Buildings of Dunedin: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to New Zealand's Victorian City, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1988

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times

'Roslyn Church Pipe Organ Being Replaced', 4 September 1983

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.