Maniototo Hospital

51 Tyrone Street, Ranfurly, Otago

  • Maniototo Hospital. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Joe Wallace. Taken By: Joe Wallace. Date: 8/12/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7306 Date Entered 16th February 1996

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 33 Blk I Town of Ranfurly (CT OT15A/695), Otago Land District, and the buildings associated with Maniototo Hospital thereon.

City/District Council

Central Otago District

Region

Otago Region

Legal description

Sec 33 Blk I Town of Ranfurly (CT OT15A/695), Otago Land District

Summaryopen/close

Maniototo Hospital, designed in Inter War Stripped Classical style by Dunedin architect Henry McDowell Smith in 1929, is a notable example of a rural twentieth century hospital building built in modern style. The Hospital has social, historical and architectural significance.

Hospital services were important to local communities, particularly in isolated areas such as the Maniototo in Central Otago. During the nineteenth century, health services in the Maniototo were centred at nearby Naseby, the centre of gold mining in the district. As gold mining declined, people left the district and there were debates about the appropriate place for such public services. The town of Ranfurly developed around the Central Otago Railway, and competed with Naseby as the administrative centre of the district. There was debate about health services in the Maniototo in the 1920s – the Naseby Hospital was an aging building in need of costly repairs. Naseby’s community was getting smaller and the Otago Hospital Board disputed the need for a hospital. The Board canvassed the district for subscriptions to a hospital fund, and generous bequests from John Fenton and George Devenney, combined with a government subsidy helped make the plans for a new hospital a reality. After lengthy negotiations, the Department of Health approved the proposal. The land for the hospital was donated by the Government, on what had been part of the state forestry nursery.

Dunedin architect Henry McDowell Smith designed the building and the associated doctor’s residence. McDowell Smith, articled in England, practiced first in partnership and later on his own account, specialising in commercial and industrial architecture. The Board accepted the tender of Ellis and Glue of Dunedin at a cost of £15,735. Minister of Health, the Hon. A.J. Stallworthy laid the foundation stone on 28 November 1929. In later years, additions in a similar style (including the East Wing) were made to the hospital, expanding the facilities. The fourteen-bed hospital was opened around 1930. The old Naseby Hospital was demolished in 1934.

The Maniototo Hospital is built of brick with a Marseille tile roof. The building has a two-storey central portion with single storey side wings. The Maniototo Hospital was designed in Inter War Stripped Classical style as shown by the use of plain brick surfaces, the symmetrical façade and vestigial Classical entablature on the front façade. The building looks distinctly modern for its time and reflects its function as a hospital, placing it as a transitional design between Stripped Classicism and Modernism.

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 Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

The present Maniototo Hospital is Ranfurly's second. It was begun in 1930 to replace the old Ranfurly and Naseby hospitals and was funded by donations from local benefactors, subscribers and government subsidy. It was extended circa 1950. The future of the hospital is uncertain due to recent changes in the health system.

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

Architectural:

Maniototo Hospital is designed in Inter War Stripped Classical style. Features of this style evident in the design of the hospital are (I) the use of plain, simple, brick surfaces (2) a symmetrical facade (3) a division of the facade into vertical bays (4) vestigial Classical columns in the first floor loggia (5) vestigial Classical entablature or string course separating the ground from the first floor (6) large simple areas of glass (7) Classical

doors with fanlights and bolection mouldings with antefixae.

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

Social:

The hospital is associated with the provision of health services to a small rural community for over half a century.

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

e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place:

The Maniototo Hospital was built with money raised by public appeal. The hospital is currently run by Maniototo Health Services Ltd , a community owned company, who purchased the hospital from Healthcare Otago for $1 last year.

g) The technical accomplishment, or value, or design of the place:

Maniototo Hospital was designed by architect Henry McDowell Smith. He was trained in the Classical idiom and was well versed in Classical revival styles but also designed in less conservative styles. The Law Courts Hotel, Dunedin, 1937 (Cat II) comes seven years after Maniototo Hospital and is designed in International Moderne style.

The Maniototo Hospital looks distinctly modern for its time and is unusual for New Zealand architecture in the 1920s and 30s, particularly when you compare it with the design of other hospitals being built at the same time. These other hospital buildings are extremely conservative essays in Classical styles of architecture which look straight back to the nineteenth century.

The hospital is a functional building built for a functional purpose. Applied Classical design, in the case of Maniototo Hospital, appears to have given way to a functional design which reflected more accurately the purpose of the building. The traditional approach would otherwise have been for Smith to signal the fact that his building was a hospital by designing it in a typical Georgian institutional manner and by attaching a Classical columned portico to the front of the main building with an impressive entablature and pediment. The fact, however, that Smith did not do this with his design suggests very strongly that in this case he preferred to adopt a modernist functional aesthetic which would have been quite a radical (and professionally risky) thing to do in 1930.

This building is a transitional design between an already out-of-date Stripped Classicism and Modernism and occupies an interesting position in the evolution of modern New Zealand architecture.

The building has retained much of its original integrity both inside and out along with most of the original interior fixtures. There is a sympathetic addition of an east wing that was completed in the 1950s.

Conclusion:

The Maniototo Hospital, 1 Tyrone St, Ranfurly, is recommended for registration as a Category II as a place of historical and cultural heritage significance and value. The present hospital was built in 1930 funded, in large, by community donations. The building's design by architect Henry McDowell Smith is modern for its time and is rare for New Zealand architecture in the 1920s and 1930s particularly when it is compared with the design of other hospitals being built at the same time.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

McDowell Smith

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Architect/Designer:

Henry McDowell Smith

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1929 -

Addition
1950 -
A sympathetic addition of an east wing was completed in the 1950s

Completion Date

31st March 2015

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Angus, 1984

John Angus, A History of the Otago Hospital Board and its Predecessors, Otago Hospital Board, Dunedin, 1984

Cowan, 1948

Janet. C. Cowan, Down the Years in the Maniototo: A Survey of the Early History of Maniototo County and Naseby Borough, Otago Centennial Historical Publications, Whitcombe and Tombs, Dunedin, 1948

Knight, 1988

Hardwicke Knight and Niel Wales, Buildings of Dunedin: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to New Zealand's Victorian City, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1988

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand