Historical Significance or Value
Considine House (Former) has historical value as a reflection of the ongoing development and consolidation of Devonport at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century as a desirable seaside suburb, in particular as part of a further phase of subdivision at the turn of the century. The place also has some historical significance for the closeness of its connections with Thomas Considine, a local councillor, and Robert Louis Cleland, the first person to win the Melbourne Cup with a New Zealand-owned horse.
Aesthetic Significance or Value
Considine House has aesthetic significance as a visually well-preserved double bay villa of noble proportions with architecturally expressive bay windows, which incorporate fretwork, classical columns, and stained glass, overlooking Albert Road. The front elevation is prominently visible from the street and has high streetscape value. The place also has aesthetic value for its surviving interior elements including pressed metal ceilings, original fireplaces, coved cornices, picture rails and dados.
Architectural Significance or Value
The dwelling has architectural significance as an exemplary example of the double-bay villa. It contributes to Devonport’s well-preserved nineteenth and early twentieth century townscape, which collectively has considerable architectural value.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category 2 historic place. It was assessed against all criteria, and found to qualify under the following: a, g, k.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history
The place reflects Devonport’s expansion as a genteel residential suburb in the early twentieth century. It demonstrates the construction and ownership of suburban family houses as well as the changing requirements for homes during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
(g) The technical accomplishment, value, or design of the place
The place has value as an early Edwardian suburban double bay villa that has been noted as an example of this type of design in publications by Jeremy Salmond about villas and architectural heritage in Devonport. The design of the exterior contributes to an appreciation of the diversity of the bay villa form.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural area
The place forms part of an important historical landscape in Devonport which incorporates a wide variety of surviving late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings and other cultural remains. The place sits within part of a significant Māori landscape associated with settlement on the northern shores of the Waitemata Harbor. It contributes to the historical and cultural area around Church street and the volcanic cones which includes Devonport Power Station (Former) (Category 2 historic place, List No. 4519) and the Holy Trinity Church (Anglican) (Category 2 historic place, List No. 504) and a number of residences from the same period.
The northern shores of the Waitemata Harbour are of significance to several iwi, having been explored and occupied since early human arrival in New Zealand. According to oral tradition, the Arawa canoe under Tama Te Kapua investigated the Waitemata. The Tainui canoe also landed at Te Hau Kapua (Torpedo Bay) in present-day Devonport before travelling to its eventual heartland in the Waikato. People are already said to have been living at Te Hau Kapua at the time that the Tainui canoe visited. Physical evidence of very early settlement has been found on the foreshore, where adzes were manufactured on stone working floors.
Recorded horticultural features in the Maunga Uika (North Head), Takarunga (Mt Victoria) and Takararo (Mt Cambria) vicinity, pā sites and evidence of terraces, pits and midden, indicate that Māori occupied the volcanic cones in later times which were part of settlement and defence networks in the area. Following Ngāpuhi incursions in the 1820s, much of the North Shore was depopulated, assisting its purchase by the British Crown after formal colonisation in 1840. A small Māori settlement at Te Hau Kapua remained inhabited until 1863. Eruera Maihi Patuone had links to the area through his Ngāti Paoa wife Takarangi, and was buried at Devonport in 1872.
Devonport emerged as a colonial settlement with its use as a British naval station from the 1840s – the first to be established in New Zealand. The latter included a signal station on the top of Takarunga/Mt Victoria. Crown land was subdivided into suburban farms in 1850 and went on sale in 1853. European settlement initially intensified close to wharves and boatbuilding yards on the waterfront, with larger-scale development emerging primarily during the economic boom of the 1870s and 1880s. With the establishment of good quality ferry services to and from Auckland, Devonport became a well-established residential suburb and a significant seaside resort in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The land on which Considine House was erected is located at the foot of Takararo/Mt Cambria, reportedly a former pā site. The cone of the maunga was quarried for scoria to use in roads from 1874. The property formed part of a holding first sold as Crown Grant in 1853 and changed hands a number of times by the early twentieth century. The Crown Grant was purchased by Andrew Sinclair, a naval surgeon and colonial secretary appointed by Governor Fitzroy between 1844 and 1856 and was later owned by Alexander Bruce, a Scottish engineer and trade unionist who later became the first mayor of Northcote Borough in 1908, for nearly two decades from 1866. In 1885, it became part of an enlarged parcel obtained by McLeod before being conveyed nine years later to John Ross, a partner in the major manufacturing and warehousing company of Sargood, Son and Ewen. Thomas Considine (1874-1952) purchased Lot 6 DP 2344 from the estate of John Ross in 1907 and also purchased Lot 5 DP 2344 the subsequent year. This pattern of subdivision and transfer was ongoing throughout Devonport from the 1870s as the suburb developed as a marine suburb and the original farming allotments were converted into residential neighbourhoods. The subdivision and subsequent creation of Considine House (Former) was part of a marked increase in building activity in Devonport in the first fifteen years of the twentieth century.
Considine was originally from County Limerick, Ireland and had moved to New Zealand with his family, including his brother John, in 1885. He worked as a storeman and grocer including as chief storeman for John Schischka, a merchant of Elliott Street, during the 1890s, suggesting that he had a relatively elevated middle class social position. In 1902 Considine married Jessie Boyd and they had their first two children, Irene Patricia and Ivy May, in 1903 and 1905 respectively.
Construction of Considine House (1904-5)
The house was designed as a family home for the Considines and was a double-bay villa of generous proportions, built of timber with a Marseilles tile roof. Its elevated aspect on a lower slope of Mt Cambria gave it a prominent appearance. In 1918 the house was described as having ‘6 extra-large rooms and scullery, pantry, bath, p.w.c. etc.’ Considine evidently organised construction of the house before the land was formally transferred to him, the transfer may have been delayed after John Ross’ death in early 1905. In November 1904, a building permit was issued to Mr Boyd on his behalf. This may have been his father-in-law, Alfred Christopher Boyd, a grainer by trade, or another relative of his wife. The house was evidently completed by April 1905, when Alfred Boyd died ‘at the residence of his son-in-law, Albert Road, Devonport’. It may be the structure for which labour-only tenders were advertised in late October 1904, which was for the erection of a ‘6-roomed House, Albert Street’.
Double-bay design had earlier been used for notable Catholic residential structures in the Auckland area, including Bishop Pompallier’s House in Ponsonby. Both Thomas and Jessie Considine appear to have been of Catholic background, although it is currently unclear if this had any bearing on the house design. Other, less lofty, double-bay villas erected at a similar time in Devonport included another timber villa at 44 King Edward Parade, and a brick example at 21 Aramoana Avenue, which has been dated to circa 1907-9. The building was constructed entirely on Lot 6 and after purchasing Lot 5 Considine divided the new lot to expand his existing property, retaining a strip alongside Lot 6 and selling the remaining land in 1909. With the additional land, the residence was surrounded on all sides by a garden on the slightly sloping site in keeping with the generous proportion of the building. By 1940 the garden appears to be fairly bare, with a concentration of trees on the shared north boundary with Mt Cambria reserve. The residence had a number of decorative features including fretwork, stained glass, and classically influenced columns in the substantial bays and gables and Wunderlich pressed metal sheet on the gable wall behind, with internal features such as pressed metal ceilings, fireplaces, and coved cornises.
The Considines had their third child in 1909 while living at the Albert Street residence, a son named Mark Leo. Thomas Considine was active in local politics, being vice-president of the Waitemata Liberal Labour Federation in 1907-9, and a member of Devonport Borough Council between 1909 and 1913. In 1912, he was one of four council members to represent the Borough at the funeral of ‘Father of Auckland’, John Logan Campbell. On at least one occasion, Considine was also Acting-Mayor. The family sold the house in 1913 after his invalid brother, John Considine – who he and his family had evidently been looking after at a nearby address – died, not having recovered from severe injuries received during the South African War (1899-1902).
Robert Louis Cleland purchased Considine House in 1913 and lived there with his wife Annie Cleland (nee Lloydd) and their children. Coming from a similar social background to Considine, Cleland had been the first person to win the Melbourne Cup with a New Zealand-owned horse in 1907, and worked as a bookmaker, and as a tobacconist. Cleland was also the proprietor of the King George Picture Theatre in central Auckland while living at Considine House. After moving west to Stanley Point in 1918-19, Cleland began trying to sell Considine House in 1918. From 1920, the property was owned and occupied by P. J. Walsh with his wife Mary Helen Walsh (nee Walkden) and their children. Walsh was a founding vice-president of the Devonport Branch of the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society and who also helped reform the North Shore Rugby Club in 1921. Both Peter and Mary Walsh lived in Devonport for many years before they purchased Considine House (Former). During the 1930s the quarry behind Considine House was being used for blasting and Walsh complained about rocks falling onto the property. William Andrew Walsh, the eldest child (born 1903), appears to have resided at Considine House through the 1920s and was involved in a number of local groups including the All Souls Church Art Unions, United Friendly Societies Dispensary, miniature rifle shooting club, and rowing club.
After Peter Walsh’s death in 1941, Mary Walsh erected a rear extension for lounge, bedroom and service rooms as part of a conversion to a two-unit dwelling in 1949. In 1952, a front garage was added. From the late 1950s Devonport became more closely linked to central Auckland after the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge along with the existing ferry routes.
Since 1966, the property has had several other private owners. From 1972 Considine House was owned by Kerry Charles Hamilton and Olive Kay Hamilton (nee Smith) who built a rear verandah in 1981 and a basement beneath the front west corner in 1984. After being sold in 1986, further sympathetic additions and alterations have been undertaken at the side and rear of Considine House. In 1987 the house was recombined into a single residence with the 1949 extension being enlarged and a deck added. Internally the west rear room was combined into the later extension to form a large sitting room.
In 1986, Jeremy Salmond noted it as an example of double-bay villa design in an essay on Devonport architecture, and an image of it was also reproduced in his Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940. In 1989, Salmond Architects referred to it as ‘an Edwardian style double-bay villa of particularly noble proportions, distinguished by a generous front verandah flanked by square 3-light bay windows…’. Since the formation of the Devonport borough in the nineteenth century the suburb has been seen as a desirable location and has retained a large number of well-preserved nineteenth and early twentieth century residences, including Considine House (Former).
Further alterations to Considine House have been made since the late 1980s. A carport that echoes the design of the double bays was erected in 1996 and a pool was built in the back garden by 1997. At an unknown time the original kitchen was replaced and in 2006 a conservatory was built at the rear of the house. The interior of the house has been renovated with new wallpaper and some internal doors have been moved. The kitchen and bathroom were also renovated in the 2010s. The property remains in use as a private residence.
Considine House (Former) is located in the eastern part of Devonport, a marine suburb on Auckland’s North Shore. Devonport is noted for its well-preserved late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings, as well as other historic landscape elements including several volcanic cones. Considine House (Former) lies at the northern base of Takararo/Mt Cambria, a volcanic cone and former pā site that was extensively quarried from the late nineteenth century. The place lies east of Takarunga/Mt Victoria, a historically important site that was variously used as a fortified pā, a colonial signal station and a fort. Respective remnants of these activities include pits and terraces, a signalman’s cottage, and a well-preserved ‘disappearing gun’ erected in 1899. The hill also accommodates a late nineteenth-century underground reservoir, said to be one of the earliest constructed in Auckland, and the remnants of a Second World War camp.
Considine House (Former) is situated fronting Albert Road, which was an early road in Devonport, established in 1867. The street is characterised by a high proportion of surviving nineteenth and early twentieth-century buildings, which convey the density of late residential and commercial occupation that characterised the suburb during that period. Nearby listed historic places include Devonport Power Station (Former) (Category 2 historic place, List No. 4519) and the Holy Trinity Church (Anglican) (Category 2 historic place, List No. 504). A number of other historic structures in the locality, including other residences on Albert Road, Church Street, and Vauxhall Road, have additionally been recognised by Council scheduling.
The site consists of as rectangular property on the south side of Albert Road, near Church Street. The residence is centrally located on the property with a paved driveway at the front and a carport in the front northwest corner. The lot slops gently uphill to the back garden which is landscaped with low rock and concrete walls with some timber fencing, a paved patio, pool and two timber sheds.
The residence is comprised of the 1905 generally rectangular structure with projecting double bays on the front elevation, a small rectangular conservatory, and an L-shaped extension extending from the west side of original structure. The house is clad with rusticated weatherboards with a Marseille tile roof and two brick chimneys with corbelling. The windows around the earliest part of the house are generally sash windows.
The two bays on the front elevation are a tour de force of architectural expression. The matching square bays have an atypical composition with a mixture of architectural elements including squared plaster-like columns with classical influences, and a deep overhang above the upper stained glass windows, all beneath a projecting cornice with small brackets. The cornice sits within a deep recess above which is an unusual protruding gable and Wunderlich pressed metal sheet on the gable wall behind. A semi-circular arch is cut into the gable with deep soffits and fretwork timber brackets. The bays have a highly profiled and three-dimensional look.
Running between the bays is a small verandah with a bullnose roof constructed of corrugated iron. The classical influenced column detailing is continued on the verandah posts and there are further timber fretwork brackets. The verandah is approached up a set of concrete steps which, along with the balustrades, are likely of more recent additions to the front elevation. The front door with stained glass flower design on fan and side lights is opposite the steps and unusually there are two additional doors at either end of the verandah, also with stained glass and fan lights. A large sash window is prominently located overlooking the verandah and a small window is visible under the verandah from the basement.
At the rear of the residence, the conservatory is located on the rear east side and is constructed from timber and glass. Between the conservatory and the extension is a paved space under an additional roof. The L-shaped extension on the west side is a distinctly modern design compared to the 1905 structure, along with the conservatory. As well as adding rooms to the house, the extension includes a small deck looking towards Albert Road. The extension incorporates repeated use of a triangular motif in the deck and internally, as well as full length windows in contrast to the earliest structure.
The rooms are arranged around an L-shaped hallway in the 1905 structure that leads to the extension. The hallway has little decoration excepting an arch with trusses at the turning point. There are three large front rooms – a living room and a bedroom in the bays and one central room in between. The rear rooms include a modern bathroom and a stairwell down to the basement, and a large modern kitchen and dining room which forms a large portion of the east side and opens onto the conservatory. The extension includes a spacious sitting room, that joins the original structure to the extension, and laundry, with two bedrooms at the southern end. Below the main floor of the house are basement spaces and a garage beneath the east bay.
Notable surviving internal features of the twentieth century design include: pressed metal ceilings, board and batten ceilings, deep coved cornices, picture rails and dados, original fireplaces in each of the bay rooms, the brick kitchen chimney with new woodburner and tiles, and some original fittings.
The carport was constructed in 1996 and references the bay gable ends with semi-circular arches and fretwork. The carport uses brick, timber and Marseille tiles. The timber outbuildings in the rear garden appear to be of recent origin and are a small shed and an outdoor bar.
1904 - 1905
Additions on west side of building
Additions at rear
Rear verandah added
Rear conservatory added
Kitchen and bathroom renovation
Timber weatherboards, Marseilles roof tiles, Wunderlich pressed metal sheet, leaded stained glass, corrugated iron
2nd June 2020
Report Written By
Sydney Musgrove (ed), The Hundred of Devonport: A Centennial History, Devonport, 1986.
Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen
Salmond Architects 1989
Salmond Architects, ‘Devonport Historic Register’, Auckland, 1989
A fully referenced New Zealand Heritage List report is available on request from the Northern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand.
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero 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.
Archaeological sites are protected by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014, regardless of whether they are entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero or not. Archaeological sites include ‘places associated with pre-1900 human activity, where there may be evidence relating to the history of New Zealand’. This List entry report should not be read as a statement on whether or not the archaeological provisions of the Act apply to the property (s) concerned. Please contact your local Heritage New Zealand office for archaeological advice.