62 Weston Road, Waiareka Junction
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 the land described as Lot 2 DP 11329 (CT OT3B/1362), Otago Land District, and the building known as Brookfield thereon.
Lot 2 DP 11329 (CT OT3B/1362), Otago Land District
Brookfield, a grand stone villa designed by Forrester and Lemon, for J.C. Gilchrist, Oamaru’s first mayor and prominent citizen, has historical and architectural significance, representing the aspirations of the new ‘landed gentry.’ Looking to the ideal of an English country seat, Brookfield sits amidst a large garden, surrounded by trees, and reflects the status and aspirations of men like Gilchrist in colonial New Zealand.
John Campbell Gilchrist (c.1830-1906), born in Argyleshire in Scotland, educated in Glasgow as a teacher, moved to Victoria, Australia in 1853. He settled in Oamaru where he turned his attention to agriculture and pastoralism. Gilchrist received the Crown grant for the land on which Brookfield was built in August 1865. He had 300 acres at Brookfield at Waiareka, just east of Oamaru. He also owned a sheep station known as Rosebedy, as well as land on Tyne and Itchen Streets in Oamaru.
According to architectural historian Conal McCarthy, Gilchrist first approached Dunedin architectural firm Mason and Wales to design his residence, with Mason and Wales requesting tenders in October 1878 for a ‘villa residence of stone, near Oamaru.’ This was never built, and Gilchrist next approached Forrester and Lemon. Sketches survive titled ‘J. Gilchrist, residence.’ According to McCarthy, in August 1879, Forrester and Lemon requested tenders for a ‘17 roomed house’, which he argued was probably Gilchrist’s residence, although the notice specifies the house would be built of wood. Gilchrist died at Brookfield in 1906, with the paper mourning the loss of ‘one of this districts earliest and most-valued residents.’
The Gilchrist family retained their association with Brookfield until 1965. In the 1960s, the house was incorporated into a function centre, with a supper room and entertainment hall built around two sides of the house, and the venue known as the Brookfield Reception Centre. An application to demolish these additions was made in 2005, to return the house to a residence. In 2015, Brookfield is a private home.
Forrester & Lemon
The architectural partnership of Forrester and Lemon was established in Oamaru in 1872.
Thomas Forrester (1838-1907) was born in Glasgow and educated at the Glasgow School of Art. Emigrating to New Zealand in 1861 he settled in Dunedin and worked under William Mason (1810-97) and William Henry Clayton (1823-77) and later Robert Arthur Lawson (1833-1902). In 1865 he superintended the Dunedin Exhibition and from 1870 he became involved with the supervision of harbour works. Some time after 1885 he became Engineer to the Oamaru Harbour Board and in this capacity designed the repairs to the breakwater following storm damage in 1886 and later the Holmes Wharf. On his death in 1907 he was still in the employ of the Harbour Board.
John Lemon (1828-1890) was born in Jamaica and travelled to England before emigrating to New Zealand in 1849. He settled in Oamaru in 1860 and with his brother Charles established a timber merchant's business. By 1869 he was in partnership with his father-in-law, George Sumpter calling themselves "Timber and General Merchants, Land and Commission Agents". This partnership was dissolved in 1872 and Lemon entered into partnership with Forrester. Lemon had no architectural experience at all, but had a wide circle of business contacts and was an efficient administrator.
Buildings designed by the partnership of Forrester and Lemon include St Paul's Church (1875-76), the Harbour Board Offices (1876), Queen's (later Brydone) Hotel (1881), Waitaki Boys' High School (1883), The Courthouse (1883) and the Post Office (1883-84), all in Oamaru. Forrester and Lemon contributed greatly to Oamaru's nineteenth century character. On Lemon's death in 1890 the practice was taken over by Forrester's son, John Megget Forrester (1865-1965).
Conversion to a function centre
Converted back to private house
6th November 2015
Report Written By
Conal McCarthy, Forrester and Lemon of Oamaru, architects, Oamaru, 2002
1 Aug 1906, p. 4.
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