Cargill's Monument

Princes Street, Dunedin

  • Cargill's Monument, Dunedin. CC Licence 2.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Benchill - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Benchill. Date: 27/09/2009.
  • Cargills Monument Dunedin by night. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Derek Smith. Taken By: Derek Smith - travelling-light. Date: 4/07/2004.
  • Cargill Monument, Dunedin. Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa photography collection. Reg. No O.034099.
    Copyright: No Known Copyright Restrictions. Taken By: Burton Brothers Photography Studio.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 4754 Date Entered 26th November 1987


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The monument was erected in 1864 to the memory of Captain William Cargill who had died in 1860. Captain Cargill and the Rev Thomas Burns were the leaders of the Otago Settlement until Provincial Council was elected. Cargill held the position of Agent to the New Zealand Company and later Commissioner of Crown Lands. In 1853 he was elected Superintendent for the Otago Province and served in the General Assembly. He retired in 1859, a year before his death at the age of 76. Though he had been conservative and quarrelsome, he had worked hard for the good of the province and engendered considerable respect and loyalty.

This monument is the only structure in Dunedin which can be certainly attributed to Charles Swyer during his short tenure as Provincial Engineer between 1862 and 1864. A bronze plaque on its base states that the Salvation Army began its work in New Zealand on this site on April 1, 1883.


A Victorian monument unlike any other in the province but it is similar to the monument erected to Sir Walter Scott in Edinburgh.


The monument is a major feature of the old commercial centre of Dunedin, the Exchange.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Swyer, Charles R

Charles R Swyer had been trained in Britain an architect and surveyor and engineer in Victoria for 10 years prior to becoming Otago's Provincial Engineer in 1862. He was responsible for Dunedin's roads, sewage, water supply, public buildings and such amenities as the powder magazine between 1862 and 1864. Cargill's Monument is the only building which we know he designed in Otago, but he probably also designed the valve tower in Ross Creek Reservoir built in 1864. He presented a design for the Provincial Government Building in the Exchange which was not used, and he and W B Armson were jointly responsible for the design of the old East Taieri School with handsome gothic windows and gabled porches. After he returned to Melbourne he and Albert Purchas designed the old Bank of New Zealand building in Christchurch in 1866.

Young, John

John Young of Melbourne built the Cargill Monument of Dunedin in 1864.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


The style is 14th century decorated medieval. It appears to have been inspired by the monument to Sir Walter Scott in Edinburgh.


The monument was originally built in the centre of the Octagon in the middle of the present road. In 1871, after Captain Cargill's widow had died, the Council decided to shift the monument out of the way of the traffic. James Gore shifted it by mid February 1872 to its present site in the Exchange. It became dilapidated in the first half of this century and was refurbished in 1960. The stonework was cleaned and neat paving and gardens placed around it.

Notable Features

Elaborate stone carving.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1864 -
Constructed in 1864 even though the plaque on the monument says 1863. (Captain Cargill had died in 1860).

2009 - 2013

Construction Details

Materials are Oamaru Stone for the carved work and Port Chalmers breccia for the plinth.

Public NZAA Number


Information Sources

Stacpoole, 1976

John Stacpoole, Colonial Architecture in New Zealand, Wellington, 1976

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.