St Paul's Cathedral and Belfry (Anglican)

36 The Octagon, Dunedin

  • St Paul's Cathedral and Belfry (Anglican), Dunedin. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Paul Willyams. Taken By: Paul Willyams. Date: 3/03/2011.
  • St Paul's Cathedral and Belfry (Anglican), Dunedin. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Bernard Spragg. Taken By: Bernard Spragg – volvob12b. Date: 29/07/2009.
  • St Paul's Cathedral and Belfry (Anglican), Dunedin. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Bernard Spragg. Taken By: Bernard Spragg – volvob12b. Date: 29/07/2009.
  • St Paul's Cathedral and Belfry (Anglican), Dunedin. Interior. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Taken By: KL.Lau. Date: 27/03/2016.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 376 Date Entered 26th November 1987


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Secs 24/25 Pts 26 36 37 Blk XVII Town of Dunedin

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The central Anglican church of Dunedin was built on land given by its pioneer businessman, John Jones. It replaces the Old St Pauls built in 1863 and demolished in 1914.


A major gothic building in the green centre of the city.


The church dominates the upper part of the Octagon and with the Town Hall forms a major architectural group of older buildings in the Octagon.


The Oamaru stone vault rises over pillars 65 feet high.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Hooper, Basil Bramston

Hooper (1876-1960) was apprenticed to the Dunedin architect James Louis Salmond in 1896. He went to England in 1901 where he worked under Professor Arthur Beresford Pite and became associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. He was influenced by the work of C F A Voysey (1857-1941). Hooper was employed in the housing section of the London County Council Architectural Department.

Having been elected an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Hooper set up in private practice in Dunedin in 1904. He became well-known for his domestic architecture, designing such houses as 26 Heriot Row (1911) and 319 York Place (1916). He also designed the brick St Kilda Methodist Church Hall (1909, demolished 1985) and supervised the construction of St Paul's Cathedral in Dunedin, which was designed by Edmund Sedding. He was one of New Zealand's most talented Arts and Crafts architects.

Hooper moved to Auckland in 1921 and established the partnership known as Rough and Hooper. They designed the Australian Mutual Provident Society Building, Hamilton (1924), and the Motor Supplies Warehouse, Auckland (1929).

McCoy, E.J.

E McCoy is a major modern Dunedin architect and has designed the University Hocken Building and many other notable modern buildings in Dunedin

Sedding, Edmund Harold

Edmund Harold Sedding of Sedding and Wheatly, Plymouth, United Kingdom, was the nephew of the nineteenth century English church architect, John Dando Sedding, and trained by him. H E Sedding saved and restored many old churches in southern England.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


Style is Victorian neo-gothic with square towers and no spire. The addition of a permanent chancel in Oamaru stone is in a contemporary style designed to integrate with rest of the building.


The replacement of the temporary chancel with a modern Oamaru stone structure is a major modification to the gothic plan, but otherwise the exterior of the building is unmodified.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1919 -

1971 -
A modern chancel in the form of a semi-circular sanctuary and designed by E McCoy was added.

Construction Details

The materials used are Oamaru stone for the walls, slates for the roof, and marble, tiles and wood for the floor. The church is reputed to have the only stone-vaulted nave in New Zealand. Built in Oamaru stone the nave rises to 65 feet. The 38 steps at the front of Takaka marble and the aisles are in Italian marble. The church has several fine stained glass windows, those above the great door commemorating the war dead. The windows on the side walls are English glass, depicting Biblical incidents. The altar in the Nevill Chapel on the right is from the earlier church on the site. The bell in the separate wooden belfry was donated in 1910, and was originally intended as part of a set in the new church, but the huge tower designed to house them was never built. The bell was donated by Sir George Fenwick to commemorate the life of his daughter, Nora Fenwick. In 1971, a modern chancel in the form of a semi-circular sanctuary and designed by Ted McCoy was added. It is built in concrete, sheathed inside and out with Oamaru stone cut to match the rest of the building. The tall narrow windows are proportioned to integrate with the gothic windows of the older part.

Other Information

NZIA Silver Award Winners 1973 and 25 Year Award 2000.

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.