This historic area 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.
From 1858, the area was part of the Eweburn run (No. 219). The nucleus of the town was established, at the northern end, after the 1863 gold rush. Many substantial buildings were constructed during the relatively stable period of the 1870s.
The gold rushes of the 1860s more than doubled the population of the colony of New Zealand and produced £21worth of export in the first decade alone. Central Otago was the scene of the first such rush in 1861. Naseby's history as a mining centre was not special or outstanding but it developed an additional layer of historical importance through being one of the mining towns that developed a permanence as a servicing centre for the remaining miners, runholders and subsistence farmers. Protected by the poor state of surface transport from competition from larger centres, Naseby developed a servicing and light industrial role typified by buildings such as the All Nations Store, the watchmaker's shop, the former country council chambers and the former borough clerk's offices. By being bypassed by the railway line, Naseby was condemned to a long period of stagnation and decline. For several decades the town has tried to turn that decline to its advantage by emphasizing its heritage values. Naseby's historical buildings, together with its autumnal displays of colour, have become iconography images of Central Otago's gold mining past; interestingly, even recent structures such as the Jubilee Museum (1988) have mimicked that aesthetic image. Before the 1989 local government reforms, Naseby was New Zeeland's smallest borough.
Garage (former Livery and Bait Stables), pre-1890: this is possibly where sluicing pipes and fittings were made and repaired.
Naseby School, [nd]: trees and lawn form a pleasant entrance to the precinct; House, Trees, Fences, (Former Surveyor's House), 1910: apparently forms a pleasing visual group; the trees are visually linked to those in the domain opposite;
Borough Clerk's House (former): 1889: house, trees, fence and mounting block apparently combine to give a pleasing view of a late-Victorian middle-class dwelling.
Mudbrick Shop, (former Chemists) pre-1890: the mudbrick (south) wall of the buildings is apparently important as a backdrop to the War Memorial; Street Furniture, (Lamp Post, Stone Curbing, Bridge Parapets): combine to give the area an "old world" look, the stones also have a "pleasant pink. tint".
The following buildings contribute to the historic area. Some are also separately Listed, as noted:
Athenaeum, 1873, Category 1
Guffie Cottage, 1860-70, Category 2
Inder Cottage, 1860-70, Category 2
Museum, 1878, Category 2
Post Office, 1900, Category 2
Royal Hotel, 1865 (1879), Category 2
All Nations Store (original portion), 1888
Lodge Hall, 1869: an early example of mudbrick construction (now plastered);
House, Trees, Fences, (Former Surveyor's House), 1910: the framing for this house is of Baltic pine, and the weatherboards and joinery are of Kauri and were made on site;
Watchmaker's Cottages, 1860's: made of Baltic Pine, and said to be prefabricated;
Borough Clerk's House (Former), 1889: this is the most substantial residence in the precinct;
Mudbrick Shop (former Chemists), pre-1890: demonstrates the structural qualities of mudbrick construction;
Naseby School: the school has an important social significance for people bred in the area.
Lodge Hall, 1869: of significance to local (and visiting) Freemasons.
Lodge Hall, 1869: first lodge in Naseby, also used as church and meeting hail;
Survey Office (former) Vacant Section, pre-1876: once a focus of surveying registration, which played an important part in the development of the area;
Watchmaker's Cottages, 1860s: These cottages have a long-established link. with the town's historic watchmaker's shop;
Street Furniture, (Lamp Post, Stone Curbing, Bridge Parapets): electricity did not come to Naseby until 1946. Before that, the streets were lit with kerosene lamps such as the one listed here, The stones, called : "Chinaman Stones" have a strong local association and a link with the mining operations of the past.