Larnach Castle Stables
Camp Road, Otago Peninsula
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 1
Private/No Public Access
27th July 1988
Date of Effect
27th July 1988
Lots 18,19,DP 1453 Sec 92R & Pt Secs 53,54,55,56,60,71,
Historical Significance or Value
William J M Larnach was born in New South Wales of a banking and merchant family. He came to Dunedin in 1869 as manager of the Bank of Otago, and started a milling, building and hardware form with Walter Guthrie, which did well during the 1870s boom but went into receivership in 1882 during the 1880s depression. Larnach was a Dunedin leading businessman with shares in many companies and was a director of several. He was a member of parliament between 1875-8, 1883-90, and 1894-98. He was involved in various ministries from 1877 onwards and pulled the Department of Mines into the modern age of large scale mining and proper reporting procedures.
During the 1880s and 1890s Larnach ran a small kingdom on the Peninsula centred on the castle. As well as his family the castle had 46 servants. There were 35 acres of grounds, including a vinery, and a home farm of 300 acres. The great stables housed the carriages and horses which provided Larnach with essential transport to Dunedin. He was very proud of his animals which were meticulously cared for and housed in style.
Larnach's Castle is the most grandiose private home in the southern part of the South Island and unique in its combination of styles. The outbuildings such as the stables are simpler structures and not quite such architectural failures as the main castle. The entrance to the great stables is pleasing in its proportions and the design well fitted to function.
The stables as such have no landmark qualities, being west downhill from the castle. They do however form part of the castle complex which has important landmark value on the Peninsula.
Lawson, Robert Arthur
Born in Scotland, Lawson (1833-1902) began his professional career in Perth. At the age of 25 he moved to Melbourne and was engaged in goldmining and journalism before resuming architectural practice. In 1862 Lawson sailed for Dunedin, where his sketch plans had won the competition for the design of First Church. This was built 1867-73. Lawson went on to become one of the most important architects in New Zealand. First Church is regarded as his masterpiece and one of the finest nineteenth century churches in New Zealand.
He was also responsible for the design of the Trinity Church (now Fortune Theatre), Dunedin (1869-70), the East Taieri Presbyterian Church (1870), and Knox Church, Dunedin (1874). He designed Park's School (1864) and the ANZ Bank (originally Union Bank, 1874). In Oamaru he designed the Bank of Otago (later National Bank building, 1870) and the adjoining Bank of New South Wales (now Forrester Gallery, 1881).
See also: Ledgerwood, Norman, 2013. 'R.A. Lawson: Victorian Architect of Dunedin'. Historic Cemeteries Conservation NZ.
ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION (Style):
The great stables are built in the same grandiose crenellated style as the castle, with arched windows and crenellated roofs.
The interior was allowed to fall into disrepair but has been recently remodelled to include motel units in the loft. Simple wooden stairs lead up to the living area and one downstairs fireplace has been renovated for visitors' use.
The quality of the materials used, the size of the building and the decorative features such as the roof crenellations
Foundation stone of the castle was laid (August)
Building proper began
The family moved in late in 1874
The great stables were built, since good stabling for the horses was essential to provide reliable transport for Larnach to get to his business in town.
The lower apartments were finished
The main shell was completed
The walls are stone and the floor in Marseilles cobbles with cast iron columns to support the loft. The roof is slate and lead with a central lantern. The iron grills between the stalls have acorn finials.
H. Knight, The Ordeal of William Larnach, Allied Press, Dunedin, 1981
John Stacpoole, Colonial Architecture in New Zealand, Wellington, 1976
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
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.