Ballarat Street Historic Area

Ballarat Street, Queenstown

  • Ballarat Street Historic Area.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.
  • Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 28/04/1995.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7070 Date Entered 28th April 1995

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

The area comprises the Courthouse; Library and Reading Room; Lake County Office; Ballarat Street Bridge; and Forresters Lodge.

City/District Council

Queenstown-Lakes District

Region

Otago Region

Summaryopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

In November 1862 the first gold discoveries were made at the Shotover River (now Arthur's Point) by Thomas Arthur and Harry Redfern. The two men were employed as shearers by runholder William Gilbert Rees. Rees had settled with his family on the run known as The Camp (on Queenstown Bay) two years earlier. Further discoveries were made along the Shotover during the next year with approximately two thousand prospectors arriving at the property. Initially, Rees supplied them with provisions and transport but as the population swelled and makeshift canvas buildings were erected the whole area was declared a gold field. A dispute over compensation of his land with the government followed. Rees was finally given £10,000 which did not fully compensate for the loss of his run.

By 1863 the town sections had been surveyed and sold and Queenstown was firmly established. It was constituted a borough in 1866. The town's greatest gold year was 1863 and for many years gold mining was its principal industry. By the end of the 1870's the population had begun to disperse and at the turn of the century the small remaining population had turned to various types of farming.

Ballarat St, Queenstown's main thoroughfare, has several stone buildings, erected during the town's heyday as a mining centre in the 1870's and 1880's. Today these buildings retain their historic character in a town which plays a major role in New Zealand's tourist industry.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The construction of permanent material buildings, replacing the early timber and canvas shelters, illustrates the prosperity and confidence of Queenstown in the 1870's and 1880's. The courthouse was particularly significant during the early years in a mining town when there was a great demand for justice in criminal cases and mining disputes.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Architectural:

Due to the abundance of schist and scarcity of timber in Central Otago a wide range of building types and structures were erected in the area using this material. The District Council chamber and Courthouse/Library were both designed by architect F.W. Burwell and together with the other structures form a pleasing group compatible in scale, style and age.

The main street in Queenstown, Ballarat St, with its heritage stone buildings and attractive avenue of trees has great architectural and aesthetic appeal. The area also has historical significance consisting of public buildings erected to serve the growing population in a Central Otago gold mining town.

Aesthetic:

Ballarat St is one of Queenstown's main thoroughfares and holds an extremely prominent position within the town. The street with its heritage buildings constructed of local schist is lined with historic trees which add to the area's aesthetic appeal.

Archaeological:

All the structures within the defined area are more then one hundred years old and therefore have archaeological significance.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Report Written By

NZHPT

Information Sources

Miller, 1973

F.W.G Miller, Golden Days of Lake County, 5th edn, Christchurch, 1973

(1949 edition)

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern region office.

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.

Historic Area Place Name

Ballarat St Bridge
Courthouse
Forresters Lodge (Former)
Lake County Council Chambers (Former)
Redwood Trees