Lindo Ferguson Building

Great King Street, Dunedin

  • Lindo Ferguson Building. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Benchill - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Benchill. Date: 24/09/2009.
  • Lindo Ferguson Building. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Benchill - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Benchill. Date: 24/09/2009.
  • Lindo Ferguson Building.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Chris Horwell. Date: 4/02/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4769 Date Entered 27th July 1988 Date of Effect 27th July 1988


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Lot1 DP8790 & Lot4 DP9986 & secs 11/20 Pts1/2 10 DP1649 etc

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Sir Lindo Ferguson was dean of the Medical School from 1914 to 1937. The first of the three buildings specially built for the Medical School on Great King Street was the Scott building opened in 1916, allowing the faculty to shift from its original home in what is now the Geology Block on the main University campus to a more convenient site opposite the hospital. (In 1916 the site of the Lindo Ferguson building was occupied by a liquor store belonging to F Meenan, a long established Dunedin firm.) By the 1920s senior students were having to be sent to first Christchurch and then Wellington and Auckland for clinical training. The Education Minister of the day, Sir James Parr, argued hard for a new Medical School in Auckland, but Ferguson harried the government so successfully for funds that Parr was put in the position of having to officiate at laying the foundation stone of the Dunedin building in 1925. Ferguson immediately started a fund for the next building but the 'modern' Hercus building was not complete until 1948.

Plaques in the outer foyer of the Lindo Ferguson building commemorate that the first formal business in the building was a meeting in February 1927 of the founders of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and that the Surgical Research Society of Australasia held its first scientific meeting here in January 1962.

Architectural Significance:

This must be one of the last buildings which Anscombe built in classical styling which was already old-fashioned in the 1920s. Anscombe was giving most of this time and attention at this stage to exhibition buildings, such as those for the 1925 Dunedin exhibition, built in a much more 'modern' style derived from overseas exhibitions which he had visited. (The Art Gallery at Logan Park is one of the Exhibition buildings.) The Lindo Ferguson block is the most grandiose of the three Medical School buildings and presumably provided what the conservative medical men of the day considered to be a suitable background.

Townscape/Landmark Significance:

The building has considerable grandeur and is the most impressive of the Medical School buildings in this block.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Anscombe, Edmund

Anscombe (1874-1948) was born in Sussex and came to New Zealand as a child. He began work as a builder's apprentice in Dunedin and in 1901 went to America to study architecture. He returned to Dunedin in 1907 and designed the School of Mines building for the University of Otago. The success of this design gained him the position of architect to the University. Five of the main University buildings were designed by Anscombe, as well as Otago Girls' High School and several of Dunedin's finest commercial buildings including the Lindo Ferguson Building (1927) and the Haynes building.

Anscombe moved to Wellington about 1928 and was known for his work as the designer of the Centennial Exhibition (1939-1940). Anscombe had travelled extensively and had visited major exhibitions in Australia, Germany and America. The practice of Edmund Anscombe and Associates, Architects, had offices in the Dunedin, Wellington and Hawkes Bay districts, and Anscombe's buildings include the Vocational Centre for Disabled Servicemen, Wellington (1943), Sargent Art Gallery, Wanganui, and several blocks of flats including Anscombe Flats, 212 Oriental Parade (1937) and Franconia, 136 The Terrace (1938), both in Wellington. As well as being interested in the housing problem, Anscombe held strong views concerning the industrial advancement of New Zealand.

(See also )

McLellan, William

McLellan was the builder of several prominent buildings in Dunedin, including the Lindo Ferguson Building (1925), Maori Hill Presbyterian Church (1920) and St Pauls Cathedral in the Octagon (1916-1919).

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Architectural Description (Style):

The building has some restrained Classical detailing in front. The façade is long relative to its height and cleverly divided by the pilastered middle section to give a better balance.


The façade is unmodified except for the addition of the new corridors to the Medical Library building to the north and across the street to the new lecture theatre. Internally the building retains many of its fittings around doors and windows but the room spaces have been re-modelled several times for different uses, the largest change being the conversion of the Red Lecture theatre into offices.

Notable Features

Its grand façade and associations with medical history in Australasia.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1927 -

Construction Details

This three to six storied building is basically triple brick but on the façade the lower storey is Oamaru stone rusticated with quoined corners and the upper storeys are plastered. The roof is flat and covered with a waterproofing malthoid-like layer. The windows on the lower storey have arched heads and rounded fanlights and over the main entrance there are large pilasters of Oamaru stone supporting a pediment with figures in it. The windows of the upper storeys are plain and square. There is a grand entrance of two flights of steps rising to a landing with an ornamental balustrade of Oamaru stone carrying two ornate cast iron standards with lights. The double doors of the main entrance are oak with small panes of bevelled glass and open into a small outer foyer floored with red tiles. An interior set of double oak doors open into a large foyer with some ornate plaster work, stone pillars and a double stairway rising to the upper floors. The stairway has an easy rise and heavy wooden banisters.

Seen from the front the building is three storied with a basement but is four storied at the back with six levels where offices have been inserted into a large lecture theatre.

Closed elevated corridors link the building to neighbouring buildings. The corridor to the older Scott building to the south is an arched and rusticated structure in plastered false stone work. The corridors to the Medical Library and across the street to the new lecture theatres are plain squared structures. The roof line has a plain parapet.

Information Sources

Parry, 1975

G P Parry, Otago Medical School 1875-1975. 1975

Other Information

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.