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 and are acknowledged as a genesis landscape. According to oral tradition the Arawa canoe under the navigator chief Tama Te Kapua investigated the Waitemata. The canoe deposited a ritual obsidian core brought from Hawaiki on Te Mata (Boat Rock), an island to the west of Chelsea Bay, giving rise to the name of the Waitemata Harbour. The Tainui canoe also landed at Te Hau Kapua (Torpedo Bay) in present-day Devonport before travelling to its eventual heartland in the Waikato.
According to oral tradition, there were people already living at Te Hau Kapua at the time of the visit of the Tainui canoe. 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 and evidence of terraces, pits and midden indicate that Māori occupied the volcanic cones in later times. Nearby shark fishing grounds were utilised by a number of different iwi. The beach at Te Hau Kapua was the site of a late-eighteenth-century battle when a Ngāpuhi, Te Kawerau and Te Parawhau alliance raided the Ngāti Paoa pā, Takapuna, now known as North Head.
Following Ngāpuhi incursions in the 1820s, much of Takapuna was depopulated, assisting its purchase by the British Crown after formal colonisation in 1840. A small Māori settlement at Te Hau Kapua (R11/2401, west of Lochiel) remained inhabited until 1863. The foreshore was extensively settled and there is a high likelihood of Māori structures and artifacts remaining on the foreshore of Te Hau Kapua, as well as Ko iwi associated with Māori occupation. Eruera Maihi Patuone had links to the area through his Ngāti Paoa wife Takarangi, and was buried at Devonport in 1872.
Early colonial land division
Devonport, originally known as Flagstaff, emerged as a colonial settlement from its use as a British naval station in the 1840s. Crown land in the area was subdivided into suburban farms in 1850 and went on sale in 1851 and 1853. Located a short distance across the harbour from the capital at that time, Auckland, the land was particularly sought after by investors and speculators.
The site on which Lochiel was later constructed was part of suburban farm Allotment 13 at North Head, land purchased in 1851 by James Hammond, an investor, businessman and later a local politician. Although Devonport was subject to speculation and land subdivision in the 1860s, large-scale development emerged 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 significant seaside resort. Hammond placed part of his land under the management of James Smart and Benjamin Menary as trustees from 1867 and, with the Hammond family’s approval, Smart and Menary oversaw the subdivision and sale of Allotment 13.
In 1874, Malcolm (1831-1916) and Catherine Murchie (1839-1912) purchased Lot 11 of the Allotment 13 subdivision. Malcolm Murchie had emigrated from Scotland to Invercargill in 1863 and, after relocating to Auckland the following year, established a successful tailoring business in the commercial sector by 1866. He continued to operate this business until at least 1905. Murchie married Catherine Buchanan in 1868 and they had two daughters, Catherine Bannertyne and Jessie Munro Murchie in 1868 and 1871 respectively. By 1875-6, Malcolm had built a house on Lot 11 and was living there with his family.
Murchie was one of a number of businessmen from the city who began to settle in Devonport and build large residences during this early period of marked growth in the area. Several photographs from 1879 show an earlier two-storey gabled house on Murchie’s property. The house was still there in 1886. During the 1880s, Murchie extended his property by purchasing Lot 10 and part of Lots 18 and 19 creating a large property extending from Beach Road (renamed Kings Parade in 1909 and subsequently King Edward Parade in 1914) to Jubilee Avenue. This may reflect Murchie’s business success during this period. In 1883 he was noted to be the largest importer of tweeds in New Zealand and had also taken a trip with his family to London in 1885 where he personally selected tweeds to import for his Auckland business. Murchie reportedly also had business links in to mills in Suva. In 1891 Murchie constructed the current house on Lots 10 and 11 in 1891, replacing the earlier residence.
Creation of Lochiel
Murchie’s new dwelling cost £1000. Construction was overseen by the notable Auckland architectural firm of R. Keals and Sons. Reflecting contemporary bay villa design as a symbol of the status and material achievement of the colony’s rising middle class, the grand residence consisted of a two-storey, timber villa, designed in the Gothic Revival style. Its south façade, facing the street, featured a double return verandah which continued round to the west façade, and a steeply pitched gabled roof of slate with a bay window on both stories at the eastern end. The east, west and north facades also had gabled roofs. The design incorporated elaborate barge boards, ornamental verandah details and factory-produced bay windows. Internally, the building contained 13 rooms. When completed, the residence was described as ‘quite an ornament to the marine suburb, being one of the most elaborately constructed private dwellings on the North Shore.’
Subsequent Use and modifications
The Murchies named their residence Lochiel, possibly an association with the Scottish origins of the family. Malcolm continued to work as a successful tailor, with 22 employees in 1902. Malcolm’s brother John also lived at Lochiel with the family in the early twentieth century. Following Catherine and Malcolm’s deaths in 1912 and 1916 respectively the property was inherited by their daughters.
Both Jessie and Catherine (now Smith following her marriage) were recorded as residing at Lochiel in 1919. Catherine’s husband, reportedly Sydney Smith a Suva magistrate, evidently died around this time. Catherine didn’t remarry while Jessie never married. Although Jessie and Catherine were generally recorded as owner occupants in the Devonport rates books through the 1920s and 1930s, they were not consistently identified as residents in the Auckland street directory. It is possible the house was converted into flats during these years or that the sisters took on boarders. The main resident of Lochiel from 1924 to 1933 appears to have been Ann C. Thompson, a lawyer who later acted on Jessie Murchie’s behalf when £10,000 of stocks were fraudulently stolen from her. Other residents were also recorded during this time including Angus McDonald, a council foreman, and Lieut-Commander Prentice of H.M.S Philomel. The sisters often travelled overseas and this may have resulted in the infrequent records of their residence at Lochiel. From 1934 both Jessie and Catherine were again recorded as living at the property along with a Mrs Sydney F. Smith who had travelled with Jessie in England. According to Salmond Architects, some modifications were made to the rear (north) elevation in the 1930s. In 1938 Jessie Murchie went to England and from 1940 Mrs S.F. Smith was the only recorded resident of Lochiel. Jessie returned to Lochiel in 1947 and both sisters were living at the property from then until their deaths in August 1959.
The house was sold to Wesley and Phyllis Gilfoyle in 1961. The Gilfoyles subdivided the property into two sections, selling the northern part of the section which had street frontage on to Jubilee Avenue, in 1963. The subdivision plan shows an existing wooden shed on the eastern boundary and the well on the property. The Gilfoyles erected a garage and carport on the western boundary and carried out internal renovations between 1961 and 1967, according to their daughter-in-law, Anne Gilfoyle, who purchased the property with Wayne Gilfoyle in 1976. The garage was replaced in 1980 and in 1989, additions were built on the north (rear) side of the house extending the kitchen and creating more living space.
After the Gilfoyles sold Lochiel, more recent owners have made further changes. In 2002 a verandah was added at the rear of the house beside the earlier extensions. In 2004, the 1989 additions were removed and replaced with a larger octagonal conservatory and kitchen extension which replicated original moulding and parapet designs in the addition. Other alterations included: the removal of the interior part of the rearmost chimney while retaining the portion of the stack from the roof cavity and externally, the addition of French doors onto the verandah and relocation of the window from that space to the new north kitchen wall, and, insertion of an arched window on the north façade. The interior has been more generally refurbished particularly with the removal of the original scrim and relining of the walls. The garage was also moved within the site to sit further back and some rooms were added to the upper level. The property remains in private ownership in 2019.
Lochiel is located in the eastern part of Devonport, a coastal suburb on Auckland’s North Shore. Devonport is noted for its well-preserved nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings. The suburb lies on the northern shoreline of the Waitemata Harbour, across from the inner eastern suburbs and the central business district (CBD) of Auckland. Lochiel occupies a site fronting King Edward Parade on the southern boundary of the Torpedo Bay foreshore. As viewed from a pleasance area close to the south end of Duders Avenue, and from the esplanade and the harbour, Lochiel and the house at 5 Jubilee Avenue (List No. 4524, Category 2 historic place) immediately to the north, make a significant contribution to the well-established seaside neighbourhood that contains a number of well-maintained late-Victorian timber houses.
Lochiel lies to the east of North Head - Takapuna (List No. 7005, Category 1 historic place), a former nineteenth and twentieth century military fortification alternatively known as Fort Cautley. About 10 km to the northeast, adjoining Cheltenham Beach in the Vauxhall Road/Tamaki Naval Base vicinity, is O Peretu (List No. 7321, wāhi tapu area), a site of ancient historic, cultural and spiritual significance and one of the few remaining identified locations of Ngāti Paoa pre-fleet heritage as well as of the Tini o Maruiwi people. Along the inner harbour Torpedo Bay foreshore are a number of archaeological sites including stone tool working floors, nineteenth-century shipyards and a timber mill. West of Lochiel is a recorded kainga site (R11/2401) and midden have also been identified at the site of the naval base east of Lochiel.
In the wider area around Lochiel are a number of places that contribute to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century landscape of Devonport including Holy Trinity Church (Anglican) (List No. 504, Category 2 historic place) constructed in 1881, and a number of sites on Devonport’s main commercial thoroughfare, Victoria Road, notably Esplanade Hotel (List No. 4481, Category 1 historic place), First World War Memorial (Record no. 4515, Category 2 historic place), and the Coronation Sea Wall (Record no. 4516, Category 2 historic place). Within wider Devonport are a number of nineteenth and early twentieth century residential buildings.
Several residences in the vicinity of Lochiel also date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Notable examples in addition to 5 Jubilee Avenue and 60 King Edward Parade are a pair of elegant single-storey villas of virtually identical design at 15 and 17 Jubilee Avenue. These are evidently four of a number of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century residential buildings identified in wider Devonport in 1974 for their architectural interest and as representative of the former Borough’s earlier character.
Lochiel is a rectangular site with an irregular rear boundary on generally flat land at the base of Takapuna (North Head). The house is located in the centre of the site with a garage in the rear west corner and a workshop towards the rear east corner. The front boundary has a picket fence with central main gate and path to the house and there are unpaved driveways along the eastern and western boundaries. To the rear of the house is a grassed garden with some early rock wall landscaping along the back boundary. A nineteenth century well with potable water is located near the back of the property.
The Gothic Revival influenced house is a two-storey bay villa of grand proportion and scale with a double return verandah on the south and west elevations. The residence is prominently sited within the section and set back from the road. It is constructed from kauri timber, concrete for the foundation and a slate roof, with a centre gutter and three brick chimneys. The house is clad with horizontal, rusticated, timber weatherboards and is generally a square structure with an irregularly shaped extension at the back.
The south elevation, visible from the street, is largely original and intact. This side is comprised of the return verandah and a two-storey, faceted bay window topped with a cornice that sits within a tall gabled wing. This elevation is richly detailed with timber ornamentation around the verandah, gable and double-hung sash bay windows including: brackets, cornices, fretwork friezes and bargeboards, a long finial, moulded balustrades and delicate paired columns along the verandah on both levels. The main and secondary entrances at each end of the verandah on the south and west sides are matched with concrete steps and a pair of plinths and urns at the bottom of each set of steps. The front door has two etched glass panes as well as glass fan and side lights, likely dating to the early twentieth century indicated by the patterns on the panes.
The decoration on the front gable is replicated on the other three gables. Single story projecting square box bays with similar decoration to the main faceted bay are also located on the east and west elevations and appear to have doors.
The north elevation is mainly comprised of the recent extensions with the 2004 octagonal conservatory on the east side and 2002 verandah on the west. An original arched window is located in the centre of this elevation, with the replicated window to the east under the gable. Decorative elements around the rear verandah match the original decoration on the front elevation.
The grand proportions of the residence are continued inside with a wide entry and hallway. The rooms are arranged around a central hall on both levels with the two living/sitting rooms, a kitchen/dining room with conservatory, a bedsit, and a bathroom on the ground floor and four bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. The original layout of the rooms has in general been preserved, with the exception of the kitchen/dining room and rear extension, and the insertion of a few additional doors. Many early features have also been retained including kauri timber floorboards, the wide skirtings and architraves, window fittings, plugs and lighting plates, ceilings and ceiling roses. The majority of the spaces have board and batten ceilings except the dining room and a kitchen and maid’s quarters which have plain ceilings. Other early features include original fireplaces, one 1930s fireplace in the front eastern bedroom and an original mantle in the living room.
A richly decorated stairway is prominently located in the entrance hall with an ornately carved newel post and trusses below a central arch. A storage space is located under the stairs. On the north wall above the stairs is an arched window with coloured, etched glass.
The alterations to the interior are generally at the rear of the house with the 2004 extension comprising of the kitchen, conservatory and bathroom. The kitchen window on the north side was relocated from the rear living room when French doors were added opening onto the 2002 verandah. The kitchen fireplace and chimney stack up to the roof was removed during the 2004 alterations, however, the chimney stack has been kept in the roof space and above. Upstairs, one of the bedrooms has been converted into a bathroom.
A small, rectangular, timber floor and walled, single-room workshop with a corrugated iron roof is located on the eastern boundary in the back garden. The 1980 timber garage comprises two levels and is located on the western boundary. The upper level was added in 2004 and contains living spaces. The garage has an iron roof with a main gable aligned east-west, with a single gable end on the north side and two smaller gable ends on the south.
Gothic revival architecture was one of the main decorative styles for domestic architecture in New Zealand from the mid-nineteenth century, along with Italianate architecture. Some notable examples of this style include Highwic, Auckland (List no. 18, Category 1 historic place), Oneida Homestead, Fordell (List No. 160, Category 1 historic place) and Leithendel, Dunedin (List No. 4697, Category 1 historic place). By the late nineteenth century the style was in less frequent use and aspects of it were incorporated in the developing bay villa type which reached its ‘peak in popularity and complexity’ between 1895 and 1910. Examples of bay villas with gothic influences include Moyard, Thames (List No. 4633, Category 2 historic place) and Pleasant Villa, Auckland, (List No. 7754, Category 2 historic place) a 1904 brick, single storey corner bay villa. Lochiel is a two storey corner bay villa.
The bay villa type residence, which has been described as ‘a statement of the strength and success of the Victorian middle class’, has a wide diversity in its form around a villa floorplan with a variety of ornamentation styles. During the late nineteenth century there was an expansion in the diversity of bay villas as reflecting the individual expression of the owners. Other two storey corner bay villas include House, Auckland (List No. 4542, Category 2 historic place) which has Italianate influences, House, Nelson (List No. 1559, Category 2 historic place) and Riverlands, Whanganui (List No. 960, Category 2 historic place) which has classically influenced architecture. Other listed two storey villas include Marivare, Auckland (List No. 2642, Category 1 historic place), Lilac Villa, Te Kopuru (List No. 3867, Category 2 historic place), House, Nelson (List No. 1576, Category 2 historic place), House, Nelson (List No. 1569, Category 2 historic place), Mahara, Dunedin (List No. 2161, Category 2 historic place), Alyth, Dunedin (List No. 4725, Category 2 historic place) and House (Formerly Oinako House), Akaroa (List No. 1712, Category 2 historic place).
Lochiel is a well preserved unusual variant of a gothic revival influenced corner bay villa.
Additions on north side
Removal of 1989 additions and replacement with conservatory
Removal of 1989 additions and replacement with conservatory and kitchen extension.
Public NZAA Number
2nd June 2020
Report Written By
Alexandra Foster and Joan McKenzie
Sydney Musgrove (ed), The Hundred of Devonport: A Centennial History, Devonport, 1986.
Young, Amanda, ‘Early Domestic Buildings in Devonport’, Research report MA in Anthropology, University of Auckland,  (copy held by NZHPT Auckland)
Salmond Architects 1989
Salmond Architects, ‘Devonport Historic Register’, Auckland, 1989
Heritage Consultancy Services, 2011
Heritage Consultancy Services, ‘North Shore Heritage - Thematic Review Report’, compiled for Auckland Council, 1 July 2011, Auckland Council Document TR 2011/010.
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.
A fully referenced proposal List Entry report is available on request from the Northern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand.