Stuart Memorial

Queens Gardens, Dunedin

  • Stuart Memorial.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Derek Smith.
  • Stuart Memorial. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Benchill - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Ben Hill. Date: 2/01/2010.
  • Stuart Memorial. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: PhilBee NZ - Phil Braithwaite. Taken By: PhilBee NZ - Phil Braithwaite. Date: 15/09/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 4758 Date Entered 26th November 1987


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Sec 1 Pt Blk 45 Town of Dunedin

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Dr D M Stuart was born in 1819 at Kenmore on the River Tay. He was educated in the parish school and took up school teaching to enable him to attend ST Andrews University for four years. He studied theology at both Edinburgh and London. He ministered to the Presbyterians of Falstone on the English border for 10 years, until he received the call to go to Knox at the end of 1859. He arrived with his sick wife at Port Chalmers in January 1860. His wife died two years later in 1862, leaving three sons. Two of them died in 1883 and 1889 respectively. Early in his ministry Dr Stuart started Sunday morning Bible Classes which he saw as profoundly important. He saw his great work to be that of building up and holding together a large congregation in which he succeeded to such a degree that the Knox congregation was reputed to be the largest Presbyterian congregation in Australasia and noted throughout its history for its 'liberality, enterprise, works of faith and labour of love' (A Ross, They built in faith). The Knox Library was established in 1866 and is now a valuable archive. In 1861 the Presbyterian Church of Otago appointed ministers to visit the goldfields in rotation, and in August 1861 Dr Stuart preached at Gabriel's Gully, riding there on horseback and living in a tent lined with woollen stuff which fell on him during one night of heavy snow storms. He preached at Clyde, Cornwell and Naseby and opened a church at Hamiltons in midwinter. He was instrumental in getting the first Presbyterian minister for the Maniototo, as well as a 'roving' minister for the Clyde - Cromwell area. In 1872 the University of St Andrews conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity on him. He was a tall man and habitually wore a shepherd's plaid round his shoulders as shown on the statue. He died in 1894.


A carefully executed memorial typical of its period.


The monument is placed on a large island immediately below the old commercial centre of Dunedin where three major roads meet.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Morison, Wm Leslie


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)

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


A typically Victorian statue well raised on a plinth with the figure done in realistic form seated on a Roman chair. The pose is solemn and brooding, with a shepherds plaid wrapped around the shoulders of the figure rather like a toga.


In 1922 it was raised on its pedestal and turned so as not to have its back to the statue of Queen Victoria.

Notable Features

Its landmark quality at a major cross roads. Also it forms a pair with a bronze statue of Queen Victoria on the edge of Queens Gardens nearby.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1898 -
The monument carries the inscription D M Stuart, Erected by the people of Otago 1898.

1922 -
The statue was raised on a pedestal in 1922.

Construction Details

The figure is in bronze, now green with age, and the plinth has a stepped base of concrete and granite with a pillar of andesite which has facings of Hobart sandstone on the squared corners at the rear. The whole monument is about five metres high.

Information Sources

Hislop, 1892

J Hislop, The History of Knox Church, Dunedin, 1892

Ross, 1976

A Ross, They built in faith, 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.