Fairfield House

48 Van Dieman Street, Nelson

  • Fairfield House.
    Copyright: Department of Conservation. Taken By: Steve Bagley. Date: 8/03/2005.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 256 Date Entered 27th June 1985 Date of Effect 27th June 1985


City/District Council

Nelson City


Nelson Region

Legal description

Sec 1282 City of Nelson


This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The following text is the original citation considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Fairfield House, 48 Van Dieman Street, Nelson

Occupying a prominent site in Trafalgar Square, Fairfield House is one of Nelson's most distinguished houses. As the house of Arthur Samuel Atkinson, brother of Premier Sir Harry Atkinson it reflects the success of one of Nelsons prominent citizens.

The first house, a dormered cottage was occupying the site by 1872. A western extension (now largely gone) and a double storey eastern extension were in place by 1875. The east wing has survived as part of the larger house which was erected in 1882-83. Also some of the joinery from the western extension appears to have been used in the building of the main house.

In 1883 Atkinson erected an observation tower adjoining the house for his hobby of astronomy. Becoming unstable it was demolished but its replacement has been mooted.

Fairfield was bought by Nelson College in 1922, used as a hostel until 1964 and then by the Nelson Polytechnic for various purposes until it was recently taken over by the Department of Lands & Survey.

The house is set in attractive surroundings and native trees. The long verandahs and the mixture of gabled and hipped roofs give this house an informal appearance.

Fairfield has been restored to its former glory and is open for use by the Nelson community.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1849 -

1981 -

Information Sources

Stanton, 2013

Alan Stanton, 2013, Anything Is Possible : The Resurrection Of Fairfield House, Friends of Old Fairfield.

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.