Delargy’s Hall (Former)
57 Bledisloe Street, Kurow
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
25th September 1986
Lot 1 DP 6193 (CT OT14A/81), Otago Land District
Standing alongside the Kurow Hotel (and historically associated with it) Delargy’s Hall (Former) served as a public hall for many years. Built in 1892, replacing an earlier hall damaged by fire, the building has historical, architectural and social significance.
This building has its origins in the 1860s in an early hotel business in Kurow. Christian Hille opened an accommodation house in what would become Kurow, and operated a punt over the Waitaki River. Kurow was surveyed as a town in 1880 and as the population grew, so did the need for accommodation. In the 1880s William Goddard took over Hille’s business. Yorkshire-born Goddard, whose family had followed gold to Victoria, Australia, came to New Zealand where he drove a coach service between Palmerston and Oamaru, and later between Duntroon and Omarama. He went into partnership with Bernard Delargy in the Bridge Hotel at Kurow, before building the Kurow Hotel. He built the hotel and stables adjoining the hotel as well. Goddard’s Kurow Hotel provided 24 rooms, a billiard room and extensive stabling. In 1892, the hotel and hall were rebuilt following a fire. The new premises consisted of ‘a handsome two-storey building of Oamaru stone.’ It had twenty-eight rooms, eighteen of which were bedrooms, and five sitting rooms. The dining room seated thirty. There was also a billiard room and large stables. Goddard leased the premises and moved to Victoria, Australia.
In 1891 Kurow’s main street was devastated by a large fire. Several buildings were destroyed, including Delargy’s ‘hotel and public hall.’ While the hotel was being rebuilt, Delargy carried on business in temporary premises at the rear of the hotel. It looks like the new hall may have been designed by Edwin Hardy – there is a tender notice from Hardy for the erection of a hall in Kurow following the fire.
The hall and the hotel were reinstated after the fire – with the hall complete around March 1892. The Kurow Amateur Athletic Club planned to hold a ‘grand concert and ball on the opening night of Delargy’s new hall, which will be sometime in March.’ The front of the hall was occupied by the National Bank of New Zealand until its purpose-built premises opened in 1903. The 1905 Cyclopedia of Otago and Southland notes that the hall was managed with the hotel and had sitting room for 450 people.
In later years the hall has had a varied life – it has been home to the Victory Picture Theatre, the Royal and Ancient Order of Buffalos Lodge, and in 2016, the Delargy’s Hall (Former) is home to the Kurow Heritage Centre.
13th February 2017
Report Written By
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
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Otago & Southland Provincial Districts], Cyclopedia Company Limited, Christchurch, 1905, http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc04Cycl-t1-body1-d5-d13-d19.html accessed 27 November 2015.
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.