3 Rockwood Place, Epsom, Auckland

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4502 Date Entered 23rd June 2011


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 75574 (CT NA32A/1058), North Auckland Land District and the buildings and structures known as Rockwood thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 75574 (CT NA32A/1058), North Auckland Land District


Located in prestigious Epsom, the two-storey timber villa Rockwood incorporates a circa 1865 homestead built on the estate of early Auckland settler and investor, William Aitken. Substantially extended in circa 1902-3, the Italianate-style villa became Fortress Headquarters Auckland in 1942, one of four centres in New Zealand charged with planning local defence strategies to resist an anticipated Japanese invasion during the Second World War (1939-45). Relocated a short distance to a new position within the estate in 1957-8, the family’s eleven-decade association with the house ended in 1980.

Rockwood is situated near the base of Mt Eden (Maungawhau), the site of a pa with a long history of human occupation. The Auckland Isthmus was taken over by Ngati Whatua in the eighteenth century preceding Auckland’s 1840 founding as colonial capital. The homestead was built on an 1865 Crown Grant that contributed towards the creation of the Rockwood country estate established by land agent William Aitken (1826-1901) who took responsibility for the care of his brother’s widow and children. The two-storey circa 1865 residence of a plain, Italianate style was portrayed in two circa 1870s watercolours by leading nineteenth-century New Zealand art theorist Alfred Sharpe (1836?-1908).

Following Aitken’s death in 1901, Rockwood transferred to his niece Jeannie Richmond (1853?-1917), the widow of an 1870 founder of the Auckland law firm Hesketh and Richmond. Additions designed by Auckland architect and engineer Ashley Hunter made to the residence in 1902-3 introduced another two-storey element, front verandahs and a ballroom. In 1917 the grand house passed to Richmond’s daughter Beryl (1880-1957). In 1942 it was requisitioned for defence purposes and was returned to the owner in 1946. In 1942-3 Rockwood was Fortress Headquarters for the planning of protection of Auckland including its Coast Defences; Devonport, the Dominion’s only naval base; the Hobsonville Airbase; and the general anti-aircraft protection of New Zealand’s busiest port. During the remainder of the War the property was Headquarters Northern District Signals. In 1957-8, following the removal of the ballroom and most of two service wings, the house was relocated to a nearby site within the estate, and remained the home of Jeannie Richmond’s descendants until its sale on a suburban-sized site in 1980.

Rockwood has architectural significance as a well-preserved early to mid colonial era, two-storey timber villa designed in a simple Italianate style as modified by turn of the century additions of similar design and reflects the development and importance of the Italianate style in the domestic architecture of colonial Auckland. It has historical significance as the home of wealthy Auckland early settler and investor William Aitken, and of the socially well-connected Richmond family - the descendants of Aitken’s brother. The building also has historical value as the subject of two circa 1870s paintings by prominent Auckland artist Alfred Sharpe. Rockwood has particular historical significance for its 1942-3 role as Fortress Headquarters Auckland, the centre for defence planning for Auckland in the event of invasion of the Dominion by Japanese forces in the Pacific during Second World War (1939-45).

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Rockwood has historical significance as the home of William Aitken who was a substantial investor in land and business enterprises in the northern province and one of Auckland’s most financially successful early settlers. The place also has historical value as the original homestead of Epsom’s substantial nineteenth-century Rockwood estate, and for its eleven-decade association with William Aitken and his relatives the socially well-connected Richmond family. Rockwood has historical value as the subject of two well-known water colour paintings by Alfred Sharpe, New Zealand’s leading nineteenth century art theorist. As Fortress Headquarters Auckland during 1942-3, Rockwood has considerable historical significance as the centre for the planning of local defence strategies for New Zealand’s most populous region (and the location of the only naval base) in the event of invasion of the Dominion by Japanese forces in the Pacific arena during the Second World War (1939-45).

Architectural Significance or Value:

Rockwood has architectural significance as a well-preserved early-to mid-colonial era, two-storey timber villa residence designed in a simple Italianate style, as modified by turn of the century additions of similar design. The building has architectural value as a reflection of the development and ongoing importance of the Italianate architectural style in the domestic architecture of colonial Auckland.

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

Rockwood has significance for its reflection of the material wealth, social status and lifestyle of some sectors of Auckland’s business community in the mid to late nineteenth century and the development of suburban gentlemanly estates around major city centres. The place also reflects close family relationships, multi-generational association with place as represented by the early twentieth-century survival of a wealthy nineteenth-century country estate on the fringe of a major city, and the subsequent redevelopment of such estates as sought-after suburban locations. As one of several military headquarters based in Epsom during the Second World War, Rockwood also reflects the suburb’s significance during the war years and the important role that large suburban residences played in the accommodation of military functions and personnel.

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

As Fortress Headquarters Auckland in 1942-3, Rockwood - one of four Fortress Headquarters in the Dominion - has considerable significance for its association with the day-to-day planning and command of the defence of greater Auckland from potential attack by Japanese forces during the Second World War (1939-45). Rockwood also has a significant association with noted early settler, Auckland real estate agent and business investor William Aitken as his home of three decades (circa 1871-1901), and also for its eleven-decade association with members of the Aitken and Richmond family.

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

Notwithstanding relocation to a new position within the original estate in 1957-8, Rockwood retains much of its value as a well-preserved example of a substantial Italianate-style country home constructed on Auckland’s colonial fringe during the 1860s. It also has value for the survival of a major part of substantial extensions dating from the beginning of the twentieth century which were undertaken in a manner that retained much of the overall simplicity of the 1860s Italianate design. The building, portions of which are over 135 years old has value for its surviving roof form with wide bracketed eaves and for its little-altered elevations which include factory bay windows and two-pane sash windows. The surviving portion of the 1902-3 addition has some technical value for its association with architect and engineer Ashley Hunter who was a significant figure in the development of the civil engineering profession in Auckland.

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

The place forms a notable part of a significant and comparatively well-preserved historical and cultural landscape in Epsom, a nineteenth-century colonial suburb favoured by the influential and wealthy among Auckland’s citizenry for their residential estates. Epsom contains a number of surviving historic nineteenth-century estate buildings including Highwic, Marivare, Rockwood and the residence that became Rocklands Hall, which were established in the 1860s.

Summary of Significance or Values:

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, g, k.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Hunter, Ashley.J

Hunter was born and educated in England, migrating to New Zealand in 1872 where he took up an engineering cadetship with the Public Works Department in Wellington. He carried out significant Waikato infrastructure work in 1872-79 and 1881-1882, such as supervising the construction of the Hamilton Railway Bridge (Record. No. 4201, Category II), work on constructing the Ngaruawahia and Cambridge railways and work on the Kaniwhaniwha deviation. In 1882 he relocated to Auckland to take up private practice in partnership with another civil engineer, James Stewart. They worked predominantly on a Public Works contract for the Hamilton-Rotorua railway, but also worked on the Miranda Coal and Iron Company development (1883). In 1883 Hunter was made an Associate Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers. He became engineer to the Westport Coal Company 1894-1897, before returning to private practice in Auckland as an architect and consulting engineer. In 1900 Hunter worked on the 'reinstatement and alterations' of the Auckland Club, with his office in Shortland Street (as was Stewart). Both he and Stewart did work for the Whareora Coal Company, Northland in 1902: however Hunter had shifted into the Halyday's Buildings in Auckland while Stewart remained in Shortland Street. Hunter's wife, Lillie, was the second daughter of James Halyday, suggesting the relocation was made with family support. The 1903 Buckland Water Tower accounts make no mention of Stewart. From 1906 Hunter again took up engineering positions with various coal mining companies, being elected a Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers in 1908. 'An erudite and keen observer', he served on a number of government commissions and was president of the New Zealand Society of Civil Engineers from 1922-1923.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Early history of the site:

Rockwood is situated near the base of Mt Eden (Maungawhau) in Auckland’s Epsom. According to some accounts the renowned military engineer, Titahi of Ngati Awa was associated with construction of a large pa there, which was later occupied by the Waiohua people. Extensive cultivations and related activity areas were located on volcanic soils on the mountain’s lower slopes. Maungawhau was part of the broader Auckland isthmus taken over by Ngati Whatua in the early eighteenth century. No Maori occupation of the mountain is currently known immediately preceding Auckland’s founding as colonial capital in 1840.

Subdivided into farms as early as 1842, the wider Epsom area to the east of the colonial settlement of Auckland became renowned for its large country homes and later as a prestigious residential suburb. The house known as Rockwood was one of a number of homesteads built on Mountain Road in the mid-to-late 1800s. Others included John Ogilvie’s residence (later known as Clifton House) and Thomas MacFarlane’s mansion (later the Mater Hospital).

The site on which Rockwood was constructed was part of a substantial holding purchased by land agent William Aitken (1826-1901) as three Crown Grants in May 1865. Aitken, who had earlier bought Lot 31 immediately to the east in 1862, was later to enlarge his residential estate further with incremental purchases.

Considered one of Auckland’s most financially successful early settlers, William Aitken is likely to have come to New Zealand with a little capital, or access to capital. Along with his brother Alexander (1822-58), Alexander’s wife Elizabeth and their three children, Aitken arrived from Sydney in 1855 having left Scotland in 1854. William had worked for calico printers Boyd and Sons in Glasgow, the city of his birth, but became a land and estate agent in the colony. Following Alexander’s premature death in 1858, William - who remained a bachelor - took responsibility for the care of Alexander’s widow and children.

Although he invested heavily in land and enterprises in the Auckland Province, William Aitken took little part in political or municipal affairs. He traded in Maori lands following the third New Zealand - or Waikato - War (1863-4) purchasing for large landholders Thomas Morrin and Josiah Firth. Aitken was actively involved in joint stock mining companies during the Thames gold mining boom (1867-72), was a prominent shareholder in the Union Steam Saw Moulding Sash and Door Company by 1875, and a major figure in Auckland’s suburban real estate boom of the early 1880s. A mainstay of St Andrews Presbyterian Church, he was also a trustee of the Auckland Savings Bank.

Construction of Rockwood (circa 1865):

Said to have been constructed in 1865, the house later known as Rockwood was erected by William Aitken, evidently for his sister-in-law Elizabeth and her children. It was also his own place of residence from as early as 1871, until his death in 1901.

The two-storey, timber weatherboard-clad villa was of a simple Victorian Italianate style. Italianate detailing included wide bracketed eaves; the asymmetrical principal elevation; and a portico incorporating simple columns and round-arched openings. A manufactured or factory bay window unit on the western bay, and another on the east elevation, may have formed part of the original design or been introduced shortly after. The arrival of steam-powered wood-working machines in the colony just prior to the 1860s made domestic joinery more affordable. Manufactured bay window units became popular and were seen as adding elegance to comparatively plain residence.

Rockwood, along with houses such as David Nathan’s residence Bella Vista (1864) in Waterloo Quadrant and David Limmond Murdoch’s Prospect (1866) on Mt St John, was a relatively early example of use of the Italianate style locally. More lavish forms were later adopted for the grand urban villas of Auckland’s wealthy professionals and merchants, such as at 21, 25, 29 and 31 Princes Street (1876-81) and 12 to 16 Symonds Street (1884-5). The picturesque relationship of the building and landscape made the Italianate an appealing style for residential designs for the landed gentry of Britain and the colonies. Devices such as the asymmetrical façade, evident in Rockwood’s original design, were intended to give residences a landmark quality.

Rockwood’s front entrance, marked by the portico, was located in the easternmost and wider of two conjoined two-storey sections of the house. The windows were predominantly two-light sashes. The building’s hipped roof had wide bracketed eaves and was finished with three brick chimneys.

Internally, the front door opened into an L-shaped hall which separated William Aitken’s sitting room from the other rooms on the ground floor. Opening off the east side of the hall was the drawing room with an east-facing factory bay window, and a fireplace backing onto the dining room fireplace behind. To the west of the dining room, was the kitchen which in turn connected to a single-storey wing containing three rooms including a scullery, and a man’s room. A staircase, said to have been imported from England, was located within the rear leg of the L-shaped hall, away from view of the front door. On the upper floor were six bedrooms, four of which had fire places.

Subsequent use, alterations (1865-1941):

A circa 1876 photograph shows the property as a mixture of farmland and bush, dotted with volcanic rock. Rockwood appears in two circa 1870s water colour paintings by Alfred Sharpe (1836?-1908), suggesting that the property, its design or the development of the wider Epsom locality was of particular interest to Sharpe as an artist. Recognised as New Zealand’s leading nineteenth century art theorist, Alfred Sharpe worked as an architectural draughtsman in Auckland and later as an architect in Newcastle, Australia, where he died in 1908.

Sharpe’s well-known painting ‘The Environs of Auckland’ shows the house set well back from present-day Mountain Road, a thoroughfare possibly known briefly as Aitken’s Road, and later as Firth’s Road. Behind the neat stone walls that marked the road boundary, and separated from the house by plantings of young conifers, was a stable with a steeply gabled roof.

The front drive from Mountain Road was later to wind through well-established landscaped grounds up to the house, where it encircled a heart-shaped front lawn. In addition to peacocks, the grounds had a grass tennis court and a croquet lawn.

The Aitken property was known as Rockwood by 1878. The name appeared in two family notices that year, one advising of the death of Aitken’s 26-year-old nephew, James Stirling Aitken (1852?-78) a law clerk articled to Auckland barrister Edwin Hesketh. The second announced the marriage of the late James’ sister, Jeannie Stirling Aitken (1853?-1917) to Hesketh’s business partner John Richmond (1845-86).

Richmond was a founder of Auckland law firm Hesketh and Richmond in 1870. Socially well-connected, he had served his articles in the office of his relative Thomas Bannatyne Gillies (1828-89) who later became a justice of the Supreme Court and established Rocklands Hall in Epsom. Following Richmond’s premature death in 1886, Jeannie Richmond and her three young daughters returned to live at Rockwood.

William Aitken died in July 1901. The terms of his will gave Jeannie Richmond the option to purchase Rockwood for £5,000.

Under the guidance of Auckland architect and engineer Ashley Hunter (1854-1932), Mrs Richmond made substantial additions in circa 1902-3. These included a single-storey ballroom or drawing room to the east side of the house. Rockwood’s single-storey west wing was replaced by a two-storey addition with a hipped roof. A two-storey front verandah with fluted supports was added on either side of the central bay section of the residence. French doors were added to provide access from the drawing room to the verandah.

Two single-storey additions made to the rear accommodated a number of service rooms. The easternmost, located behind the dining room and kitchen contained a housemaid’s pantry and a servery; the westernmost accommodated a scullery, a man’s room, the larder, a dairy, a laundry, a wash house, and a coal store. The ground floor of the new two-storey west wing had a front sitting room with a west-facing, manufactured bay window. Across the back hall were a bathroom, lavatory and box room. A rear passage with a second staircase also provided access to the larger of two new service wings. The upper floor now served by two stairways accommodated five large bedrooms, a bathroom, a linen room, a maid’s room, and a passage to the front verandah. The entire building was roofed with Marseilles tiles, replacing the earlier slates or shingles. A new stables and coach house was constructed some distance away, to the southwest of the house.

Ashley Hunter the designer of the circa 1902-3 additions, had come to New Zealand in 1872 and set up his own practice as a consulting engineer and architect in Auckland in 1897. Regarded as the father of the civil engineering profession in Auckland, Hunter also undertook architectural commissions including reinstatement and alterations to the Auckland Club (1900), an organisation of which William Aitken was a member.

Subdivision of the northern area of the Rockwood estate began as early as 1904 as Epsom evolved from a loose community of country estates into a suburban residential area. In 1907-8, Ngahere - the first of two Arts and Crafts-style dwellings commissioned for the two Richmond daughters who married - was erected on the Rockwood estate for Margaret and her husband Donald MacCormick. Woodend (circa 1914-15) was the home of noted Auckland lawyer and academic Dr Dean Bamford and his wife Jean nee Richmond.

Following Jeannie Richmond’s death in 1917, the third daughter - Beryl Richmond (1880-1957) - continued to live in the 14-roomed Rockwood which was formally transferred into her ownership on a reduced site of approximately 1.75 hectares in 1923. By the early 1920s the MacCormicks also shared the Rockwood residence, and rented out Ngahere.

Fortress Headquarters Auckland, and Headquarters Northern District Signals (1942-6):

Following the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-45) and Japan’s entry into the conflict in December 1941, Rockwood was requisitioned and became Fortress Headquarters Auckland on 18 May 1942. One of four such centres in New Zealand, Fortress Auckland oversaw an area that encompassed the Hauraki Gulf Islands, Kaipara’s South Head, down to Manukau Heads, and across South Auckland. Its responsibilities included the protection of the Coast Defences; the only naval base in the Dominion (Devonport); the Hobsonville Air Base; and the general anti-aircraft protection of the port. Chosen for its size and optimum location with commanding views of the harbour, Rockwood was close to many other military headquarters including Combined Operational Headquarters based nearby at the Auckland Teachers’ Training College campus in Epsom.

As Fortress Headquarters, Rockwood was the centre for planning of the local defence strategy to resist an anticipated Japanese invasion that did not eventuate. It was the venue for conferences which included Senior United States Officers. Described at that time as a very old building, Rockwood evidently provided accommodation for about 28 people in sleeping as well as office quarters. Two map tables and a raised platform were installed in a room designated as the ‘Gun Operation Room’. The stables became a kitchen, stores and mess rooms. Temporary buildings constructed on the property included sleeping accommodation for 70 men in 8-men huts, lavatory accommodation for 30 female personnel, and bomb-proof shelters. The Japanese invasion scare was officially at an end by early November 1942.

At an unknown date between July and September 1943 use of the property changed to Headquarters Northern District Signals for the remainder of the War.

In 1946 Rockwood, by then described as a residence of 18 rooms, reverted to Beryl Richmond’s possession.

Later use and relocation (1946 - current):

In December 1952, the property was transferred to Rockwood Estates Limited, in which Beryl Richmond held a major interest. Following Miss Richmond’s death in 1957, Rockwood’s chimneys and the single-storey additions including the drawing room or ballroom were removed. The two-storey structure including a two-room section of a service wing was manually relocated approximately 45 metres to a new site within the estate. The new location in the general vicinity of the former fowl yard, vegetable garden and a conservatory lay within the curtilage of the original house and near the stables building.

Subdivision of the remaining estate resulted in formation of the cul-de-sac, Rockwood Place. Facing in a slightly more easterly direction, the house remained within the family, occupied by a great-grand niece of William Aitken. A carport / garage was added the rear wall of the residence. A second single-storey bay window (presumably from the demolished 1902-3 drawing room / ballroom) was added towards the rear of the west elevation.

Rockwood on a reduced site of 1477 square metres, changed hands in 1980 and remains in private residential use. The former stables occupying the adjoining site at 1 Rockwood Place were demolished in circa 2005-7.

Physical Description

Construction Professionals:


Not known: (Circa 1865 residence)

Ashley John Hunter, architect (Circa 1902-3 addition)


Not known: (Circa 1865 residence)

Not known: (Circa 1902-3 addition)

Physical Description and Analysis:


Rockwood is situated in Epsom, an inner suburb of Auckland. Located to the southeast of Auckland’s main city centre, Epsom is a mainly residential area containing a number of recognised historic houses.

Rockwood lies on an irregularly-shaped site, on the south side of Rockwood Place a short distance from its intersection with Mountain Road. The east side of Mountain Road in the immediate vicinity consists of a mature streetscape of substantial circa 1920s residences interspersed with more recent pre-1950 dwellings.

With the exception of the nineteenth-century Rockwood homestead; and Ngahere (circa 1907-8) and a two-storey English Cottage-style house on either side of the Rockwood Place / Mountain Road intersection, the houses in the cul-de-sac are comparatively modern.

As well as noted nineteenth-century gentlemanly estate houses including Highwic (record no.18), Clifton (record no. 2623), Marivare (record no. 2642) and Rocklands Hall (record no. 7276) which are all Category I historic places, a number of notable early-twentieth century residences survive in the Epsom area. These include the circa 1914 Rannoch (record no. 7198, Category II), a Spanish Mission style former janitor’s house (record no. 4532, Category II) constructed in 1914-15 in association with Auckland Grammar School (record no. 4471, Category I), Wharetane built in circa 1925-6, and Stoneways (record no. 4499, Category I) constructed in 1926. Rannoch and Stoneways were both constructed on land that originally lay within the Rockwood estate.

Rockwood occupies an irregularly-shaped lot of approximately 1477 square metres on the outer bend of a short cul-de-sac. The rear boundary lies near the edge of a larva outcrop which drops away steeply. Mature trees behind provide a visual backdrop to the property. The residence is partially screened from the street by mature ornamental shrubs and trees planted by the current owners. A large tree (possibly a puriri) located to the east of the house is much older.

The building is obliquely located within the central area of the site. A comparatively recent formal front garden is laid out with brick paths, box hedges and topiary, and planting beds. Sealed vehicle access to parking at the rear of the building is located near the west boundary.

The foot print of the two-storey residence is basically rectangular. Two single-storey sections attached at the rear are: two rooms formally part of a single-storey service wing (1902-3); and garaging added in the mid-twentieth century or slightly after.

Main building - exterior:

The Italianate-style Rockwood is clad with plain, weatherboards of modest depth butted to angle-stop corners. In spite of the 1902-3 additions (the two-storey west bay, and verandahs), the façade retains an element of asymmetry by virtue of the marginally narrower width of the 1902-3 bay. The front entrance remains in the same relative position as the original circa 1865 design.

The eight-panel front door appears in an early-twentieth century photograph of Rockwood and is of a style that may date from the early 1860s. The house retains its deep eaves with bracketing, a signature of the Italianate style. The verandah supports dating from circa 1902-3 are distinctive, but incorporate Italianate references such as fluting and shallow capitals.

On the lower storey of the east elevation the weatherboard cladding and the factory bay window, removed in circa 1902-3 to enable the ballroom addition, has been reinstated. A double set of sash windows has replaced what was originally a single pair.

Following relocation of the house to the current position, the west elevation was modified to incorporate a second factory bay window (the southernmost). The back door located between the two is sheltered by a heavy console, an Italianate reference.

The upper storey of the rear elevation is little altered from the circa 1865 and circa 1902-3 design. A single-storey gable-roofed protrusion is a remnant of a 1902-3 service wing.

Following relocation of the building to its current position, only one brick chimney was reinstated and is of a plain mid-twentieth century design. The main two-storey section of the building retains its turn of the century Marseilles roof, although a skylight has been let into one side of the central section. The roofing of the rear addition, carport / garaging and the front verandahs appears to be metal.

Notwithstanding its new position and the removal of some of the 1902-3 additions, the core of Rockwood remains comparatively unaltered.

Main building - interior:

Internally, Rockwood consists of two floors connected by two stair cases, one in the central (1865) part of the building, and another located towards the southwest corner within the 1902-3 addition. The basic floor layout is little altered.

On the ground floor are four large habitable rooms which open off an L-shaped hall layout. Two of the three front rooms open onto a front verandah. The parlour has a large ornate cast-iron fire register, and a timber mantelpiece. The west-facing sitting room has a board batten ceiling. The main hall and some other rooms have ceiling roses.

The house retains much of its nineteenth-century and early-twentieth century joinery including architraves, doors and deep skirtings. The door between the main hall and the back hall may have circa mid-twentieth century glazing. A modern kitchen has been installed within the former bathroom / lavatory and box room area, which has necessitated the removal of part of a partition wall. Horizontal dressed boards line part of the back hall. The former kitchen has been adapted as a bathroom and laundry area. The former scullery and man’s room (now one space in the remnant of the 1902-3 rear wing) are accessed from a passage off the back hall and have matchlined ceilings. The rear staircase in the passage has distinctive turned balusters.

The Regency-style staircase (circa 1865), rises to a mezzanine landing off which are at least six bedrooms. Apart from a bathroom developed in the former passage to the east verandah, the floor layout and timber joinery appear to be little-altered. A bathroom off the south side of the landing has a pressed metal ceiling. The upstairs landing is lit by a roof lantern of unknown twentieth-century date.

Construction Dates

1865 -
Pre-construction: Crown Grant to William Aitken

Original Construction
1865 -
Construction: Dwelling, stable, outbuilding

1902 - 1903
Drawing room / ballroom single-storey, east side. West wing, two-storey. South wings, two single-storey structures. Verandahs

1902 - 1903
Demolition: Stables. Construction: Stables

1942 -
Construction: Temporary military buildings within wider grounds

1957 - 1958
Two-storey house and part of single-storey rear wing

1957 - 1958
Demolish: Single-storey east wing; single-storey central rear wing; and part of west rear wing [old site]. Construct brick foundation walls for verandahs; reinstate cladding and windows lower-storey east (side) wall [new site]

Carport / garaging to south (rear) wall

Construction Details

Brick foundation walls (verandahs) and concrete piles; timber frame and cladding; Marseilles tiled roof (main building); metal roofed single-storey additions and verandahs

Completion Date

9th May 2011

Report Written By

Joan McKenzie

Information Sources

Archives New Zealand (Auck)

Archives New Zealand (Auckland)

Agency BBAD, Series 1054, Box 1045a, Army Accommodation, 48 and 15 Mountain Road, Mt Eden 1942-1964

Archives New Zealand (Auck)

Archives New Zealand (Auckland)

Agency BBAE, Series 1569, Box 127, Item 3980, Aitken, William - Auckland - Land Agent, 1901-1901

Archives New Zealand (Auck)

Archives New Zealand (Auckland)

Agency BBAE, Series 1570, Box 1352, Record 1119/1957, Richmond, Beryl E. Aitken - Auckland - Spinster, 1957-1957

Archives New Zealand (Auck)

Archives New Zealand (Auckland)

Auckland City Archives, ACC 213/104b, Valuation Field Record Sheets, Mountain Road 1924-1967

Auckland Waikato Historical Society Journal

Auckland Waikato Historical Society Journal

No. 15, September 1969, pp.28-30

Cooke, 2000

P. Cooke, Defending New Zealand; Ramparts on the Sea 1840-1950s, Wellington, 2000


Daily Southern Cross

Daily Southern Cross

2 March 1855, p.2; 6 March 1855, p.2; 22 January 1858, p.2; 3 December 1865, p.5; 14 July 1871, p.3; 1 August 1874, p.4

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

DI 12A.851, 6G 1350; DI 12A.849, 6G 1352; DI 12A.852, 6G 1353; DI 13A 170; Application 4034; CT NA119/83, CT NA1690/64, CT NA32A/1058, DP 3045, DP 16114, DP 46839, DP 75574, North Auckland Land District

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald, 12 July 1932, p. 6; 28 September 1933, p. 6.

18 April 1878, p.2; 14 May 1886, p.5; 28 May 1932, p.14

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Auckland, photograph on NZHPT Buildings Field Record Form (25 August 1985)

Stone, 1973

R. C. J. Stone, Makers of Fortune: A Colonial Business Community and its Fall, Auckland, 1973

Auckland Museum Library

Auckland Museum Library

MS 94/54, Bamford, Nancy Richmond, ‘The story of gardens, Mountain Road, Epsom, Auckland’, 1993

Auckland City Council

Auckland City Council

Auckland Council, Auckland City Environments, Property file 3 Rockwood Avenue

Bush, 2006

G.W.A Bush, (ed.), The History of Epsom, Auckland, 2006

Cooke 1969

Robin Cooke (ed.), Portrait of a Profession: The Centennial Book of the New Zealand Law Society, Wellington, 1969

Auckland City Libraries

New Zealand Militia, Volunteers and Armed Constabulary 1863-1871

Sir George Grey Special Collections: Refs. 3804; 3805, A6355; 4-327

Blackley, 1992

Roger Blackley, The Art of Alfred Sharpe, Auckland, 1992

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region 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.