King Edward Technical College (Former)

291 Stuart Street, York Place and 206 Tennyson Street, DUNEDIN

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From a prominent position on Stuart Street, overlooking Dunedin city, sits an impressive cluster of buildings known as King Edward Technical College (Former). The largest secondary school in New Zealand for over twenty years, it was also one of the first technical schools. The Dunedin Technical Classes Association was founded in 1888 by a group of prominent citizens concerned to provide continuing education and technical classes for youth. So successful was the venture that finding suitable accommodation proved an ongoing problem. Finally in 1914 the purpose-built King Edward Technical College (KETC) was opened. The impressive three storey brick edifice, incorporating the Kempthorne Wing and workshops to the rear, was designed by prominent architect Harry Mandeno. In 1918 Burt Hall was added to the College, with an entrance from York Place. Again designed by Mandeno, it provided swimming baths, lunch hall and an assembly hall. It was named for Alexander Burt, long-standing chairman of the Association. In 1924 the Thomson Wing was added to the central block. It was named in honour of G.M. Thomson, founder of the Association, first Superintendent of the School and long term Board member. The Dunedin Art School was officially incorporated into KETC in 1921, but not until 1937 was a purpose-built art school opened on the corner of Tennyson Street and York Place. It was designed by Government architect John Mair and was an architectural departure from the rest of the College. With internationally renowned teachers, the Art School was a training ground for the likes of Toss Woollaston, Colin McCahon and Doris Lusk. The Art School and accompanying buildings on Tennyson Street were taken over by the Otago Polytechnic in 1963 and the main KETC block became King Edward Technical High School. The High School was later closed and the Polytechnic relocated. KETC was sold to private owners. It is now known as King Edward Court and its rooms leased to a number of community groups. The Art School was purchased for Kavanagh College in December 2010. KETC is a complex of imposing structures creating an aesthetic appearance of strength, solidity and enduring quality. Designed by prominent architects Harry Mandeno and John Mair, the buildings hold architectural as well as aesthetic value. The School’s historical significance derives from its position as the second earliest technical school in the country and also the largest for over two decades. KETC also represents the development of technical education in New Zealand, from concerned citizens adopting international trends to state-run mainstream technical education. The history of the School is also connected with a number of well known personalities but perhaps none so famous as its uniquely talented artists and art teachers, including Toss Woollaston, Rodney Kennedy, Colin McCahon, Doris Lusk, R.N. Field, and Gordon Tovey. These artists inspired a unique and exceptional contribution to New Zealand’s arts and culture.

King Edward Technical College (Former) | Helen McCracken | 01/08/2002 | NZ Historic Places Trust
King Edward Technical College (Former) | Derek Smith | NZ Historic Places Trust
King Edward Technical College (Former) | Derek Smith | NZ Historic Places Trust



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

7th July 1987

Date of Effect

7th July 1987

City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 2 DP 21559 (OT16B/1137) and Lot 1 DP 24486 (OT16B/1135) Otago Land District, and the three buildings known as King Edward Technical College (Former) (including the former Dunedin Art School at the corner of York Place and 206 Tennyson Street), and its fittings and fixtures thereon. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 21559 (OT16B/1137) and Lot 1 DP 24486 (OT16B/1135) Otago Land District

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