Clifton Villa (Former)

17 Graham Street, Dunedin

  • Clifton Villa (Former). Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed - Review Application Received List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4804 Date Entered 29th November 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Allot 8 DP 1786 (CT OT148/22), Otago Land District and the building known as Clifton Villa (Former), thereon.

City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Allot 8 DP 1786 (CT OT148/22), Otago Land District


Hidden away from the street and sandwiched between larger houses, is one of Dunedin’s earliest existing houses. Owned and expanded by one of Dunedin’s foremost architects and builders, Henry F. Hardy (1831-1904), it has been a family home, boarding establishment and private school. It is historically significant as one of Dunedin’s earliest extant buildings; it is architecturally significant as Hardy’s earliest extant build; it is also important as the earliest extant example of Hardy’s architectural design style which spans the from the early years of settlement in the 1850s, through the gold rush period, and to Dunedin’s rapid expansion by the turn of the century. Finally, it is also socially significant as a testament to the nature of early boarding arrangements, boarding houses and private schools.

Born in England, 1831, Henry Frederick Hardy immigrated to New Zealand in 1853. First apprenticing himself to a cabinetmaker, he then helped build the first ship constructed in Dunedin. On 23 October 1854 Hardy married Isabella (c.1831-1871), nee Calder, widow of the late John Boyle Todd. Isabella’s address was given as Ebbin Cottage, Dunedin. The cottage was likely built in the early 1850s for Todd.

Hardy probably began building houses in late 1855 or early 1856. In 1856 he advertised a number of houses for rent - applications were to be made to Mr Hardy, Ebbin Cottage, High Street.

1858 marked an important development in the history of the Ebbin Cottage. In March Hardy placed an advertisement publicising that ‘considerable additions’ had been made to the Cottage. Early photographs reveal a much grander wing had been added to the north elevation and a single storey addition to the rear. The addition was clad with vertical flush Australian hardwood. The roof was wooden shingles and finials were added to the roof line. A bay window looked out over what would become Maclaggan Street and a balcony was added to the window above. The continued existence of the original early 1850s Cottage indicates that a portion of the present house is one of Dunedin’s very earliest still in existence. Even the addition would compete as one of Dunedin’s oldest houses. The house became known as ‘Clifton Villa’.

In March 1862 the Hardy family relocated to ‘Clifton Terrace’, higher on Graham Street, and Clifton Villa was opened as a boarding residence by Mrs Jenkins. In December 1864 the Hardy family resumed occupation of Clifton Villa and also took in boarders.

Around 1867 Hardy’s sister Elizabeth, her husband Samuel Collinson and their six children immigrated to New Zealand. They took up residence at Clifton Villa. Elizabeth died in July 1883 and Samuel in November 1894. Daughters Margaret, Ada, Bertha and Louisa, known as the ‘Miss Collinsons’, opened a private school in their home. They taught, separately, a school for boys, a school for girls and also took music pupils.

In 1904 Hardy died and his properties were gradually sold off. In 1906 the Miss Collinsons purchased Hardy’s residence, known as Kaituna, on the neighbouring section. The old Collinson home, Clifton Villa, was purchased by Maurice Coughlan.

The Miss Collinsons’ private school was renamed ‘Kaituna School’. In 1917 Louisa closed the school and began teaching at Archerfield School, a boarding and day school from girls. Bertha then purchased the sisters’ old family home in 1917. The old Ebbin Cottage/Clifton Villa was once again in family hands. Bertha also retained part ownership of Kaituna with her sisters. In 1923 they sold Kaituna.

After 1928 the property passed through various hands and by the 1970s the property was in a state of extreme disrepair. In the 1990s the house was extensively repaired and has been restored to a home.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Hardy, H.F.

Henry Frederick Hardy (1831-1904).See

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1858 -
Large addition by Hardy completed

1992 -
Extensive repairs and renovations completed

Completion Date

24th February 2017

Report Written By

Susan Irvine

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

Other Information

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand.