Benmore Station Complex

1567 State Highway 83 (Twizel-Omarama Road) And Lake Ohau Road, Clearburn, Omarama

  • Benmore Station Complex. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Taken By: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Date: 11/08/2012.
  • Benmore Station Complex. Workers' Quarters and Old Store. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Taken By: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Date: 11/08/2012.
  • Benmore Station Complex. Top - Wool Store. Bottom - Wool Scour. Images courtesy of
    Copyright: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Taken By: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Date: 11/08/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7805 Date Entered 23rd June 2011


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as (Sec 1 and part of pre-emptive Right on Run part Section 6 Blk VIII Ohau River SD (CT OT185/41), Otago Land District and the buildings and structures associated with Benmore Station Complex thereon, and their fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information). The registration does not include the modern sheds or modern homestead.

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Canterbury Region

Legal description

SSec 1 and part of pre-emptive Right on Run pt Sec 6 Blk VIII Ohau River SD (CT OT185/41), Otago Land District

Location description

Benmore Station is located on the south west quadrant of the intersection of the Twizel-Omarama Road and Lake Ohau Road.


Benmore Station, set amidst the spectacular high country of the Mackenzie Basin, is a complex of station buildings dating from the 1860s-1870s associated with the beginnings of pastoralism in this isolated part of North Otago.

Benmore Station was first taken up in April 1857 by Ronald McMurdo and Nelson brothers George and Edmund Hodgkinson, who thought the land so desirable that they raced each other to a nearby Matagouri Bush for the right to file application to the Christchurch Land Office to take up the land. After McMurdo’s tragic death in 1863 the station was sold to prominent Otago runholders Robert Campbell (1843-1889) and William Low (1835-1905). Robert Campbell was one of the most significant nineteenth century runholders. Aside from Galloway and Benmore he owned five other South Island runs. From 1881 he oversaw the management of these properties for his father’s company Robert Campbell & Sons. The station developed into a complex of buildings, allowing facilities to shear the some 90,000 sheep on the run by the 1890s.

The development of Benmore Station was not without conflict, taking place in the context of Ngai Tahu anxiety about the loss of their land through the 1848 Kemp Purchase. Ngai Tahu leader, tohunga and prophet Hipa Te Maiharoa (?-1885/1886) attempted to protect the land, with the efforts focused in the Upper Waitaki Valley. Campbell and Duncan Sutherland (the Omarama Station manager) were portrayed in newspapers as the ‘victims’ of the illegal occupation, and Te Maiharoa was forcibly evicted. Controversy for Benmore Station continued in the early 1890s with the shearers’ strike in late 1893. Labour historian John Martin describes this strike as the ‘most important single strike’ in the history of the Shearers’ Union.

The complex of buildings represents the functions of a nineteenth century pastoral station: the residential buildings for managers and workers, and the utilitarian buildings such as the woolshed, wool scour, smithy and the like providing insight into the workings of Benmore. These modest vernacular buildings represent the reality of life on an isolated station rather than the grand visions of the run holder gentry represented in Campbell’s other holdings such as Otekaike.

Benmore Station Complex is of special historical significance. It represents the early history of pastoralism in North Otago, an isolated station in a spectacular location with a range of vernacular buildings illustrating the workings of a nineteenth century sheep station. Benmore’s wider links, through owner Robert Campbell opposition to Te Maiharoa’s presence, as well as the dispute over shearer’s working conditions culminating in the 1893 shearers’ strike illustrate the growing organisation of rural workers.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Benmore Station Complex has a special place in the history of North Otago. Benmore was one of the early inland North Otago Runs. The buildings in the registration, which date from the early 1860s, are among the earliest relating to pastoralism. Robert Campbell is a significant figure in the history of New Zealand for his place in the history of pastoralism. He acquired several of the largest runs in Otago and Southland, was a pivotal figure in the community and a wealthy Otago personality. He is remembered for his pioneering role as a runholder and politician. Campbell’s role in the eviction of Te Maiharoa and his people from Te Ao Marama is also notable. In addition Benmore’s involvement in the shearing strike of 1893 has a special place in the history of rural unionism in New Zealand.

Aesthetic Significance or Value

Set amidst the dramatic high country landscape at the south end of the Mackenzie Basin, Benmore’s vernacular corrugated iron and stone buildings sit comfortably in this harsh landscape.

Archaeological Significance or Value

Benmore Station Complex has archaeological significance. The farmstead has been continually occupied since the early 1860s. There is potential for archaeological methods to reveal information from rubbish pits, as well as through documenting changes and development of the structures of the station, particularly with reference to those shown on the early survey plans. Other features include the water race and remains associated with the use of water as motive power for the shearing machines and for wool scouring.

Architectural Significance or Value

The Benmore Station Complex has special architectural significance. Architect and engineer Geoffrey Thornton has recognised the complex as a ‘unique’ set of buildings; together they show the range of buildings required to run a station of this type, in particular they represent the vernacular station architecture of the 1860s. They are significant as modest buildings, representing the type of structures which were commonly constructed but which rarely survive as an intact group.

Technological Significance or Value

The Benmore Station has special technological significance. It represents the range of buildings and technologies that were necessary for the operation of a high country pastoral station, and the change of those technologies over time. The scouring of wool on the station was an important part of early station life, and there are few surviving structures representing this early process. Benmore Station was one of the early sheds to adopt machine shearing and this is an important technology represented in the form of the Woolshed. The use of water power to operate the scour, and later to run the shearing machines illustrates a significant technology of the time.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

The Benmore Station Complex is representative of the history of pastoralism in North Otago. It is the earliest run in the area, first leased by Ronald McMurdo and the Hodgkinson Brothers, and later by Robert Campbell. Robert Campbell’s ownership of the Station illustrates the role of capital and large scale investment in the development of pastoralism. Campbell was a significant figure in both business and politics, and his involvement reveals a significant element in the history of pastoralism in Otago and Southland.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

Benmore has special significance for its associations with a number of individuals and events. Benmore is associated with Robert Campbell, one of the most significant individuals in the history of pastoralism in Otago and Southland with large holdings in both provinces, as well as in the North Island. Campbell’s role in the eviction of Te Maiharoa from his settlement at Te Ao Marama is also notable.

Benmore is associated with one of the most significant shearers’ strikes in the history of the shearers’ union, and was important in galvanising the unionism of rural workers in New Zealand.

(d) The importance of the place to the tangata whenua

Benmore’s association with the eviction of Te Maiharoa from Te Ao Marama, through the involvement of owner Robert Campbell gives the history of the station some significance to tangata whenua.

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

Benmore Station was first identified by members of the North Otago Regional Committee of the NZHPT as significant in the 1960s. Subsequent building work funded by the NZHPT in the 1970s and 1980s shows the continued significance of Benmore to the local community.

(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement

The Benmore Station Complex is among the earliest pastoral complexes in inland North Otago, and represents the life of the earliest runholders in that region.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places

Complexes of vernacular farm buildings, representing early construction methods (for example the use of slab and bush pole timber) are rare survivors. This intact grouping is therefore a significant example.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape.

The Benmore Station Complex is part of the high country pastoral landscape. These isolated stations set in spectacular surroundings are important historical landscapes, where the homestead block represented the functions of these vast holdings which reached to the heights of the surrounding mountains.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place. Benmore Station Complex is of special historical significance. It represents the early history of pastoralism in North Otago, an isolated station in a spectacular location with a range of vernacular buildings illustrating the workings of a nineteenth century sheep station. Benmore’s wider links, through owner Robert Campbell opposition to Te Maiharoa’s presence, as well as the dispute over shearer’s working conditions culminating in the 1893 shearers’ strike illustrate the growing organisation of rural workers.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The Omarama area located in the Waitaki River Valley inland of Oamaru is significant in the traditions of the Ngai Tahu Whanui. The headwaters of the Waitaki River are fed by ka roimata o Aoraki - the tears of Aoraki - the ancestral mountain of Ngai Tahu.

The tradition of the Takitimu waka asserts that local limestone outcrops are the legacy of Tamatea-Pokai-Whenua. During his exploration he traversed the land, using this sacred flame for making fire as he went; as the fires cooled, mounds of pale white ash were left in their place, which became the limestone features that are so prominent in the landscape of this region.

Both iwi history and archaeological evidence show occupation by Maori in the area over an extended period, with the inhabitants utilising a wide variety of natural resources from the diverse environment of the Waitaki River catchment. The date of earliest Polynesian settlement of the Waitaki area remains unknown, but is generally thought to date from at least 1,000 years ago. There was extensive settlement throughout the Waitaki Valley when the moa existed, as shown in the widespread archaeological remains of moa bones in cultural contexts.

With the Canterbury purchase of 1848 (with the boundaries in the Waitaki area a matter of some confusion), and the scanty reserves laid out, as well as the loss of access to mahika kai, there was growing concern from Ngai Tahu about their rights to land in the interior of the South Island. Ngai Tahu’s view at the time was that only land that could be seen from the coast could be considered to have been included in the 1848 sale, and therefore the interior (including the Upper Waitaki) still belonged to them. With the opening of the interior for pastoral farming Ngai Tahu were further alienated from their traditional uses of land and resources.

Pastoral Occupation

The early pastoral history of Benmore is confused by the run being within the disputed area between the Canterbury and Otago provincial boundaries. Benmore was almost enclosed by the waters of the Ahuriri, Lake Ohau, Ohau River, and by the Waitaki River. Some parts of Benmore were leased twice, in Canterbury and Otago, and it was Canterbury which gave the first licence for 50,000 acres applied for in April 1857 by Ronald McMurdo and Nelson brothers George and Edmund Hodgkinson.

Station legend has it that Nelsonians Hugh Fraser and McMurdo rode into the Pukaki area and looked at the sunny hills above the Ohau River and both exclaimed that ‘I will have that country.’ They then apparently decided to race to the Christchurch Land Office for first choice, but sense prevailed and they raced to a nearby matagouri bush. McMurdo won and chose what would become known as Benmore. Later Benmore was declared to be in Otago (when the boundaries were proclaimed in 1861) so the leases were changed to the Otago system as run number 189.

In January 1863 Ronald McMurdo died as the result of being kicked in the chest by a colt. In the face of this tragedy George and Edmund Hodgkinson sold Benmore. The 200,000 acre station was auctioned on 10 April 1863. Prominent Otago runholders Robert Campbell (1843-1889) and William Low (1835-1905) bought the leases for £36,000. Twenty seven year old William Low and seventeen year old Robert Campbell had owned Galloway Station in the Manuherikia Valley since 1860, the beginning of their long and significant role in pastoralism in Otago. Low was based at Galloway, while at Benmore, Campbell and manager James Cowan each had a house on the homestead block.

Robert Campbell was one of the most significant nineteenth century runholders. Aside from Galloway and Benmore he owned Otekaike, Rocky Point, Burwood, Mararoa, and Mavora, as well as several North Island runs. From 1881 he oversaw the management of these properties for his father’s company Robert Campbell & Sons. Campbell was from a wealthy business family, and was commissioned to purchase or lease land on behalf of his father in New Zealand. He became a member of the House of Representatives, and the Legislative Council, and was active in local politics. His estate at Otekaike with its imposing Scottish baronial style mansion was a local social centre.

At Benmore Campbell built a ‘comfortable stone house’, put up a new woolshed and built new yards (replacing McMurdo’s which had been destroyed by wild cattle). He hired mainly Scottish shepherds, imported seventy Saxon rams, and imported Australian merinos. A homestead of sod was built in the mid-1860s or the early 1870s.

With all the runs to oversee, much of the work in running the stations was done by managers. The station managers were important figures in the operation of large pastoral runs such as Benmore. Cowan left Benmore in 1867 to manage Kawarau Station near Bannockburn, and was replaced by William Henry Ostler, who also managed Otekaike for a period. Ostler was replaced as manager by Thomas Middleton in 1873 (Ostler later buying Ben Ohau Station). Scottish-born Middleton had arrived in New Zealand in 1865 and had been a partner in the Ben Ohau run (bought out by Ostler in 1874). By 1878 under Middleton’s management Benmore was shearing 80,617 sheep.

Historian Robert Pinney writes that the station buildings were erected as required, and when contract labour was cheap. Survey plans from the 1870s indicate that by that time there was a complex of buildings representing the essential functions of a pastoral station on Benmore: woolshed, men’s quarters, house and huts, as well as the associated sheep yards. There was also a dam and water race which provided water supply for the wool scour, and later provided power for the turbine which powered the shearing machines.

The woolshed was central to the station operation as around 90,000 sheep were being shorn by the 1890s. Some 3,000 fleeces were classed over four tables in the shed each day during shearing. The skirters had to be supervised, and the classer was an important figure in the shed, addressed as ‘Mister’ and eating with the manager, separate from the shearers.

According to architect and engineer Geoffrey Thornton the first Benmore Woolshed was built in 1868 with a timber frame clad in corrugated iron. On 5 November 1870 there was a fire at the Benmore woolshed. Robert Pinney writes that the woolshed was destroyed but the sorting room was saved. This differs from the current owner’s view (in light of the physical evidence in the shed itself) that the sorting room was destroyed and the shearing shed and pens were saved. Scouring resumed within a week, and a new sorting shed constructed from recycled iron was still being finished when shearing began on 8 December of over 52,000 sheep. The ‘huge woolshed’ is a significant feature in the landscape, being visible from the main road.

Machine shearing was introduced early at Benmore in 1889(though Galloway preceded them in 1888), with the trial of Wolseley mechanical hand pieces. The technology was adopted and powered by a turbine with water from the nearby creek. Frederick Wolseley first demonstrated machine shearing technology in Australia in 1885 and he formed the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company in 1887. Surveyor T.N. Brodrick witnessed the event and wrote: ‘It is wonderful. It clips the sheep better than it could be done by and does not hurt them so much and it is easier on the man….’ Thornton describes the woolshed as ‘impressive’ with its two boards totalling twenty eight stands, one of the few larger sheds still in use, though fewer stands are used now. The woolshed was also the centre of industrial unrest which is discussed in more detail below.

In the 1860s sheep were shorn ‘in the grease’, that is unwashed, and it was necessary to clean the wool before shipment through scouring. On large and isolated stations such as Benmore (and others such as Morven Hills), this was usually completed at the station. By 1870 much of the wool clip was scoured with up to six men employed sorting, and up to sixteen men scouring. The water supply came from a dam above the homestead, from which water was sourced to drive the turbine for 28 shearing machines.

The Wool Scour was built in 1870, and in 1898 was moved close to the woolshed, to use the overflow water from the turbine. The Wool Scour had iron boilers surrounded by stone at one end of the building to heat water to make the scouring solution. The wool was placed in vats alongside the boilers and scoured by agitating it in the soapy mixture. Fleeces were drained and then rinsed in a rinsing box with a perforated bottom, and supplied with a constant supply of cold water to remove the dirt and soap. The fleeces were air-dried before being pressed into bales.

Next to the Wool Scour is the large Wool Sorting Shed (where the wool was sorted before scouring), a single-gabled, timber-framed building clad with wide birch slabs on the lower level and corrugated iron on the upper level. The dump screw press goes through both levels and has its base recessed into the floor. It was used to compress two bales into one. Thornton identifies only one other surviving scour, at Lake Coleridge, and considers the Wool Sorting Shed as a ‘utilitarian structure of considerable character.’

Other buildings such as the Blacksmith’s Shop were central to the functioning of the station. Pinney describes the blacksmith as the ‘[m]ost skilled of the men employed at Benmore.’ William Bell, blacksmith at Benmore from at least 1865-1876, was a significant figure. Bell was also a partner with John Murchison in the Conchra Run in the Ahuriri. As well as smithing at Benmore, Bell worked at other Campbell holdings, including Otekaike and Station Peak. He shod horses for the station and neighbouring properties, and made tools, bolts, grates and fencing standards.

Geoffrey Thornton considers smithies particularly important on isolated stations. As a farrier the smith kept the horses’ shoed feet in good condition, and as a smith he made and repaired tools and equipment, and made iron tyres for drays and wagons. The equipment and tools were specialised and significant. He describes Benmore’s smithy (erected in 1872) as a good example, timber framed using ‘black birch in the round’, and clad in blackened iron from the wool shed which burned down in 1870. The long narrow building has a store at the rear with an open bay for implements. Some of the iron was replaced in the 1980s (recycled from the homestead), and some of the timber replaced with like round timber harvested by permit from the station. The tools, forge, bellows and anvil are still in situ.

Horses were also important to the operation of a large station, providing access to the distant reaches of the 300,000 acre property. The stables at Benmore are modest and included accommodation for the stablehand. They are constructed of stone with a corrugated iron lean-to. Thornton describes it of ‘considerable character.’

Housing was also important, from the primitive early cottages, to the more comfortable manager’s house, through to accommodation for men. On Benmore there are a range of buildings which represent these functions.

The Men’s Quarters and Cookshop at Benmore are combined in a single building. The structure dates from around 1867, and is constructed of stone, with sleeping quarters at one end, a dining room in the centre and a kitchen at the other end. Thornton considers it an ‘interesting example’ of its type. The Farm Store (dating from 1867), raised on stone piles, and constructed of timber is located adjoining the Men’s Quarters, providing easy access to essential provisions.

Periods of Dispute

Te Maiharoa and Te Ao Marama

The development of Benmore Station took place in the context of Ngai Tahu anxiety about the loss of their land through the 1848 Kemp Purchase. Ngai Tahu leader, tohunga and Kaingarara religious prophet Hipa Te Maiharoa (?-1885/1886) attempted to protect the land, with the efforts focused in the Waitaki Valley. In mid 1877 he led 100 of his people up the Waitaki valley to establish a settlement called Te Ao Marama near modern day Omarama. Te Ao Marama was a stopping place on the way to the West Coast. Here he and his people cultivated land, built dwellings, and a large church, and held religious services and established a school of learning on land part of the Omarama lease.

Te Maiharoa’s protests took place in the context of the Taranaki iwi’s defence of their land, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi’s pacific resistance at Parihaka, and widespread fighting between government troops and iwi in the North Island. While initially welcomed as providing much needed station labour, Te Maiharoa’s people were soon under pressure from the run holders, including Robert Campbell, particularly around the issue of Maori-owned dogs which runholders claimed were worrying sheep, though this was disputed by iwi living at Te Ao Marama. Robert Campbell refused to employ Maori shearers on the run. Campbell and Duncan Sutherland (the Omarama Station manager) were portrayed in newspapers as the ‘victims’ of the illegal occupation.

Te Maiharoa had an audience with the native minister John Sheehan in 1878 to present the Ngai Tahu case, but was dismissed, and later ordered to return to the established Maori reserves, and in August 1879 were evicted by armed constables. Te Maiharoa moved to Korotuaheka south of the Waitaki River mouth, and continued to present the Ngai Tahu grievances to the Crown.

Shearers’ Strikes

Controversy for Benmore Station continued in the early 1890s with the shearers’ strike in late 1893. Labour historian John Martin describes this strike as the ‘most important single strike’ in the history of the Shearers’ Union. Struggles between station management and the shearers were not new, with the organisation of rural workers in the later part of the nineteenth century ‘coming up directly against the power of the runholders and farmers.’ There was notable conflict at Benmore in 1873 (where shearers argued for £1 per 100 sheep shorn which started in the Waitaki district and led to the formation of the first shearers’ union) and further boycotting of the station after a shearer was sacked for bad shearing in 1878. President of the Shearers’ Union and member of Parliament J.W. Kelly described Middleton (Pinney would argue unfairly) as ‘a perfect tyrant amongst his men’ and who had earned a bonus from Campbell as ‘the most economical station manager’ in the employ of Robert Campbell and Co.

The strike, based on Middleton’s judgement that the sheep were dry versus the shearer’s assessment that they were wet, took place on 22 December 1893. Under the shearers’ contract, which John Martin describes as typically one-sided in favour of the station manager, only Middleton had the right to decide whether the sheep were wet. Middleton fired the shearers’ representative, and refused to pay the other men who had walked out as he considered them on strike. The conflict escalated with all the roads to Benmore picketed. Middleton recruited more shearers from the coast and broke the strike.

The union decided to make a ‘test case’ of the strike to highlight the arbitrary employment conditions under which shearers worked, knowing well that they would lose, but hoping that the publicity would aid their cause. They did indeed lose but protests about the court decision were held in Waimate and Christchurch. The House of Representatives discussed the strike at length and led to the unsuccessful attempt to change the Workmen’s Wages Act.

The following year Middleton hired shearers from New South Wales, and requested police protection so that shearing could continue unhindered. This was refused and once again all roads to the station were picketed, but shearers were allowed to pass through unhindered. While the Shearers’ Union ultimately lost its struggle at Benmore (the battle moving to other sheds), Martin writes that old hands remembered the Benmore strike as ‘a big means in reforming and strengthening the Shearers’ Union.’

The Sutherland Era

In 1892 James Sutherland took over as head shepherd and in June 1899 took over management of the station from Thomas Middleton. In 1916, when Benmore was subdivided, Sutherland was offered the opportunity to buy the homestead block, which he took up. He was known as a tough but fair man with a legendary ability to count sheep, and a gift for reading the weather, the country and stock. Sutherland owned Benmore until 1936 when it was transferred to his two sons Robert and William. James Sutherland died in the early 1950s.

In the 1960s and 1970s the NZHPT put together a project which aimed at recognising and protecting various early pastoral farm complexes in the South Island. Benmore Station was identified as ‘unique’, and one of the most important in the South Island, and the preservation of the buildings was discussed with the then owners.

In 1977 the Benmore Station buildings were used as a set for a historical dramatisation of the life of nineteenth century figure James MacKenzie due to their ability to represent a good range of the buildings of the period.

A report was prepared by the Ministry of Works in 1978 which surveyed the condition of the buildings in the Benmore Station Complex that were no longer being used, and were therefore seen as at risk (the wool scour and wool sorting shed, blacksmith’s shop, wooden store and the shepherd’s hut to north of other buildings.) Remedial work was completed on the Wool Scour, Blacksmith’s Shop and the Woolshed in 1980, including the replacement of bush pole timber in the smithy with similar timber from Benmore Station, and recladding the building with corrugated iron from the homestead. A heritage covenant was signed in the early 1980s.

Since that time Benmore has continued to be a working station run by members of the Sutherland family.

Physical Description


Benmore is located at the southern end of the Mackenzie Basin and sits between the Otago town of Omarama and the Canterbury town of Twizel. The buildings are located on what was the preemptive right of the Benmore Station, with the road to Lake Ohau on the northern side of the buildings, and the road between Twizel and Omarama on the east. The spread out complex of buildings backs onto a low hill to the south, and has spectacular alpine views to the east and west.

The buildings are in three clusters: to the north west are the stable, homestead (not included in the registration) and Robert Campbell’s Cottage. A little further south are the Head Shepherd’s Cottage, Men’s Quarters and Cookshop (with the attached timber store), the Implement Shed and Smithy. To the south are the Wool Scour, Wool Store and Woolshed. These grouping represent the related functions of the buildings and the operation of the station.

Unlike other station complexes, (such as Campbell’s stations at Galloway and his spectacular mansion at Otekaike, and others such as Kawarau Station, all constructed from permanent materials (all Category I historic places), Benmore is special in that it represents the more primitive vernacular architecture of the mid nineteenth century station. These buildings are an important contrast to the grander stations and a reminder of the isolation, hardship, and often minimally constructed facilities typical of such remote places.

The Buildings

The Stable

The Stable is a simple single-gabled building, rectangular in plan with lean-to additions on the south and west elevations, and small yards to the north elevation. It is constructed of stone, random rubble with mortar, and has timber door and window joinery. The stable and the lean-tos have corrugated iron roofs, without guttering. One lean-to is clad with vertical corrugated iron, the other with horizontal weatherboards.

On the east elevation is a large central stable door and a casement window. A large shrub obscures the southern end of that elevation.

On the north elevation there are two entrances, one being a stable door, and the other an access door to the loft.

The original form of the building on the south and west elevations is obscured by the later lean-to additions.

The stalls are still in place within the stable. The building may also have provided a room for the groomsman.

Robert Campbell’s Cottage (Former)

Robert Campbell’s Cottage is located to the north of the Stable. The house faces north. The Cottage is a simple single gable structure, rectangular in plan, with a veranda to the north elevation. There are lean-to additions to the east and west elevations, timber framed, with a mixture of timber and corrugated iron cladding. The building has a corrugated iron roof and a chimney on the west gable end of the building. There are no windows on the south elevation. On the north elevation there are two windows flanking a centrally placed door.

The Cottage is currently unoccupied. The interior of the building was not inspected.

The Head Shepherd’s Cottage (Former)

The Head Shepherd’s Cottage (Former) is constructed of stone, with clay, lime and cement mortar. The roof is corrugated iron. The walls are around 600mm thick. The building is divided into two main rooms (originally the main room and a bedroom) with an annexed bedroom and store. The floor is 150mm wide Tongue and Groove Baltic Pine. The interior is lined with pinex and plaster.

Cookshop, Men’s Quarters and Store

The combined Cookshop and Men’s Quarters, with its associated timber Storeroom is located just to the east of the former Head Shepherd’s Cottage. The Cookshop and Men’s Quarters is a long single storey stone building (around 30m by 6m), rectangular in plan, with a hipped corrugated iron roof. The interior is divided into six bedrooms and a dining room.

The building is constructed of stone (random rubble brought to course) with butted mortar. The exterior shows evidence of being finished (with what could be repeated coats of whitewash). There is a single window on the west elevation.

The dining room has its original round rafters, and the kitchen has a bread oven which has been plastered over. The interior has been changed from a bunkroom and kitchen to provide twin bunkrooms, a small lounge and dining room. The kitchen has been modernised. An ablution block has been added to the east elevation.

The Storeroom, immediately next to the Cookshop and Men’s Quarters on the south east corner, is a weatherboard structure with a corrugated iron roof. It is constructed on stone piles.

Blacksmith’s Shop

This is a timber framed structure clad in corrugated iron. The iron was salvaged from the woolshed when it was damaged by fire in 1872 and reused in this building. There is a lean-to on the east elevation of the building. The central part of the building is an open shed, currently used for storage.

The smithy is located in the north west corner of the building. There is a forge, bellows and a large number of early blacksmith’s tools in the building.

Woolscour and Wool Sorting Shed

The Wool Scour constructed from round timber poles and clad with corrugated iron, with a stone chimney. It has an associated scour tank. By mid 1980s the building was in poor condition.

In 1984 the Wool Scour was in very poor condition, with a willow tree growing through the building. At that time demolition and rebuilding in a new location were considered the only options to allow the survival of the structure. NZHPT funded its reconstruction.

The two storey Wool Sorting Shed is timber framed and clad in vertical boards (identified as beech in inspection reports) on the ground floor, and corrugated iron above.


The Woolshed is a T-shaped in plan with a gabled roof. The shearing shed part (the cross of the ‘T’, the part that survived the fire) has the original machine shearing stands and the pens. There were formerly 28 machine stands. The building is timber framed and clad with small bands of glazed windows on the north elevation.

The Wool Shed has (the vertical of the ‘T’) has the current raised board, sorting tables and press. On the west elevation is a small lean-to room, which formerly provided sleeping quarters for two people. This part of the building is timber framed, and clad with recycled corrugated iron. There is some interested graffiti on the walls.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 - 1869
Robert Campbell’s Cottage constructed, Head Shepherd’s Cottage constructed.

Original Construction
1867 -
Cookshop/Men’s Quarters and Storeroom constructed

Original Construction
1868 -
Construction of woolshed

1870 -
5 November, Woolshed partially destroyed and rebuilt

Original Construction
1870 -
Wool Scour constructed

Original Construction
1872 -
Blacksmith’s Shop constructed

Construction Details

Stone, lime mortar, timber, corrugated iron.

Completion Date

17th May 2011

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Beattie, 1994

James Herries Beattie, Traditional Lifeways of the Southern Maori, Otago University Press, Otago, 1994.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

D.C.McDonald ‘Campbell, Robert 1843-1889)’, updated 22 June 2007

Pinney, 1981

R. Pinney, Early Northern Otago Runs, Auckland, 1981

Thomson, 1998

Jane Thomson, (ed)., Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography, Dunedin: Longacre Press/Dunedin City Council, 1998.

Thornton, 1986

Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986

McIntyre, 2007

R McIntyre, Historic heritage of high-country pastoralism: South Island up to 1948, Department of Conservation, Wellington, 2007

Elwell, 1975

E. S. Elwell, The Boy Colonists or Eight Years of Colonial Life in Otago, New Zealand, (first published by Simpkin, Marshall & Co., Oxford, 1878), reprinted by Capper Press, Christchurch, 1975

Martin, 1987

John E. Martin, Tatau Tatau – One Big Union Altogether: The Shearers and the Early Years of the New Zealand Workers’ Union, New Zealand Workers’ Union, Wellington, 1987

Martin, 1987

John E. Martin, Tatau Tatau – One Big Union Altogether: The Shearers and the Early Years of the New Zealand Workers’ Union, New Zealand Workers’ Union, Wellington, 1987

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.