St Patricks Church School and Hall

13 Colonsay Street, LAWRENCE


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St Patrick's Church School, designed by prominent Dunedin architect Robert Arthur Lawson, and officially opened by Bishop Moran on 17 March 1872, stands on the northern side of Colonsay Street, overlooking the main street of Lawrence. The building served a dual role of church and school for twenty years (until the present church was erected in 1892). By the 1870s this was the largest school in the diocese. From 1893 until its closure as a school in 1927, the School was run by the local order of Dominican Sisters. The former School was then used as a hall for community gatherings. The building has special and outstanding architectural and historical significance. The elegantly proportioned design is a rare example of school architecture, particularly in its association with the Roman Catholic Church, and a unique example in Lawson's oeuvre. It is Lawson's only known building for that church, with all other designs completed for the Presbyterian Church. In both its design and its historical significance, as one of the first and largest schools outside Dunedin, developed under the mantle of Bishop Patrick Moran, it illustrates the importance of religious education to the Catholic community, at a time when the argument on state support of Catholic Schools was hotly debated, a debate driven by Bishop Moran.

St Patricks Church School and Hall, Lawrence | Sarah Gallagher | 02/12/2020 | Heritage New Zealand
St Patricks Church School and Hall, Lawrence | Sarah Gallagher | 02/12/2020 | Heritage New Zealand
St Patricks Church School and Hall, Lawrence. Image courtesy of | Hugh McCall – Braxholm | 07/04/2012 | Hugh McCall



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

4th April 1990

Date of Effect

4th April 1990

City/District Council

Clutha District


Otago Region

Extent of List Entry

The registration includes the land in Certificate of Title 242708, and the building, fixtures and fittings thereon.

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 27477 (being sec 8 Blk III Town of Lawrence) (RT 242708), Otago Land District

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