Boyne’s General Store (Former)

11-13 Ballarat Street, Queenstown

  • Boyne’s General Store (Former). Original image submitted at time of registration.
    Copyright: NZHPT Field Record Form.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5226 Date Entered 19th April 1990


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Secs 20-21 Blk II Town of Queenstown (CTs OT8B/272 and OT219/216), and part of the land described as Legal Road, Otago Land District, and the building known as Boyne’s General Store (Former) thereon. (Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage List/ Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 11 February 2016).

City/District Council

Queenstown-Lakes District


Otago Region

Legal description

Secs 20-21 Blk II Town of Queenstown (CTs OT8B/272 and OT219/216), Legal Road, Otago Land District


This two-storey stone building, located on Ballarat Street in Queenstown, was built as a store for general merchant Robert Boyce in 1879. It has historical and architectural significance, recalling the importance of store keeping in nineteenth century Queenstown.

Scottish born Robert Boyne (1827-1908) came to New Zealand via the Victorian goldfields, arriving in Melbourne in 1858 before following the call of gold to Otago in 1862. With his brother Alexander he went first to Gabriels Gully, then to the Dunstan, and by 1863, had moved to Queenstown. The brothers set up as storekeepers. Their initial store was on Beach Street, but they moved to Ballarat Street in June 1863. Shortly afterwards, Alexander left Queenstown for Invercargill, returning in 1871 to set up his own business.

Robert Boyne traded as a general merchant and draper. The first store was a large tent that served as both residence and shop. The tent was replaced by a wooden store, and in 1879, by the stone store that stands today. Photographs show a plain two-storeyed stone building with a square parapet to Ballarat Street and a hipped corrugated iron roof. In January 1882, the store was damaged by the fire that claimed several buildings on Ballarat Street. A verandah was added in 1886. A newspaper article noted Boyne’s general store as one of several ‘commodious business premises’ in Queenstown – with its ‘freestone front’, the stone having been taken from Bob’s Cove.

Robert Boyne expanded the business, joined by his son Alexander (1865-1924). Alexander took over the business after his father’s death in 1908. Alexander died in 1924, after which the property was sold to Queenstown grocer John McNeill.

In the 1930s, the firm was renamed McNeill and Tripp (Tripp being another Boyne relative). Later taken over by James Rattray and Sons, the building became the Queenstown Supermarket. In the mid-1990s, it was converted to a movie theatre – the Embassy Theatre – and in 2015, is the home of Reading Cinemas in Queenstown.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

1886 -
Verandah added

1995 -
Converted to movie theatre

Original Construction
1879 -

Completion Date

12th January 2016

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Weedon, 1997

Sheila Weedon, ‘The Boyne Families of Queenstown and Gore’, The Queenstown Courier No. 58, 4-11

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