Star and Garter Stables (Former)
11-15 Itchen Street, Oamaru
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
25th September 1986
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Lot 2 DP 2633 (CT OT194/27), Otago Land District, and the building known as the Star and Garter Stables (Former) thereon. (Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage List / Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 12 November 2015).
Pt Lot 2 DP 2633 (CT OT194/27), Otago Land District
Perhaps Oamaru’s earliest surviving building, this small stone outbuilding, known as the ‘Men’s Hotel’ or the ‘Bullock Drivers’ House’ provided stabling and perhaps a place to stay for bullockys and wagoners in the early 1860s. It has historical and architectural significance.
Accommodation for travellers were among the first businesses in Oamaru. Moeraki storekeeper H.C. (Henry) Hertslet shifted to Oamaru in 1858, where he ran the Government Store and erected an Accommodation House. Hertselt’s hotel was ‘built of wood, with a portico’. Brothers Fred and Edward Collis managed the hotel, but in 1860, Hertslet sold the property to Christchurch man Richard Jones. Jones ‘improved the house inside and out’ and changed the name from “The Accommodation House” to “The Star and Garter.’ According to historian WHS Roberts, it was Richard Jones that built the large stone stable at the rear of the hotel in 1861. Roberts also notes that side on to the hotel and a little behind was the ‘Mens Hotel’, a bullock driver’s accommodation house. The North Otago Times notes that close to the accommodation house was the ‘bullock drivers’ house’ – the ‘men’s hotel’ ‘side on to the main hotel.’ It consisted of a long room with 18 bunks in three tiers, 9 on each side, with a wide passage down the centre.
William Jones offered the hotel and its associated property for sale in February 1864.The sale notice identifies two stables and a saddle room offered on the same lot as the hotel. On a separate lot (Lot 2) was another stable, and this is the current building. The sale notice describes the ‘substantially built and well finished STONE STABLE, Having 10 stalls and 2 loose boxes and is Equal to any Stabling in the Province. Has a frontage to Ichen [sic] street of 30ft, with a depth of 132ft and is situated on part of Sections 10 and 11, Block 3.’A survey plan from 1864 shows the hotel the Star and Garter Hotel at the front of the section, with ‘stone stables’ (side on to the hotel) and two other sets of stables and a well associated with the hotel. So, if the building did offer accommodation in the early days, it was gone by 1864.
In front of this modest building, was built Oamaru’s Masonic Hall and the Star and Garter Hotel. The Loyal Oamaru Masonic Lodge formed the Masonic Hall Company to run the project, with lodge members as directors and shareholders in the company. Dunedin architect R.A. Lawson won the competition to design a Masonic Hall, incorporating a new building for the Star and Garter Hotel, in Oamaru, calling for tenders for the first stage on 12 October 1866. Jones’ Men’s Hotel and stables was incorporated into the new hotel, and likely served as stables. The stables business was let separately.
The Star and Garter changed hands many times over the years and continued to operate as a hotel until 14 February 1915 when the building was gutted by fire. The facade and surviving rooms were stabilised but left unoccupied until after World War I when the Oamaru Returned Soldiers Association occupied part of the ground floor. About 1920 the Regimental Band (Fifth Mounted Rifles, Otago Hussars) occupied the original Masonic Hall, converting it into a band room and renaming it Lyric Hall. Lyric Hall served Oamaru for 25 years. The building has had a variety of tenants over the years. It is probable that the former stables also had a variety of tenants. In later years, the building was converted to a private residence. It has also served as a bakehouse, an electrical workshop and store. The largely disused building remains behind the former Star and Garter Hotel, perhaps Oamaru’s earliest surviving Oamaru stone building.
6th August 2015
Report Written By
W H S Roberts, 'History of Oamaru and North Otago', Oamaru, 1890
Roberts et al, 1978
Roberts. W.H.S. (et al), Beginnings: Early History of North Otago, The Oamaru Mail Co. Ltd, Oamaru, 1978.
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