St Luke's Vicarage

1 Wharfe Street And Itchen Street, Oamaru

  • St Luke's Vicarage.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/11/2001.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4884 Date Entered 25th September 1986 Date of Effect 25th September 1986


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 15 Blk XXVI Town of Oamaru (RT OT231/60) and Sec 16 Blk XXVI Town of Oamaru (RT OT36/263), Otago Land District, and the building known as St Luke’s Vicarage thereon.

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Otago Region

Legal description

Sec 15 Blk XXVI Town of Oamaru (RT OT231/60) and Sec 16 Blk XXVI Town of Oamaru (RT OT36/263), Otago Land District


The substantial St Luke’s Vicarage, built in 1908-1909, has architectural significance in its design by Oamaru architectural partnership Forrester and Lemon. Along with the Sunday School (which includes the Parish Office) and St Luke’s Anglican Church (List Entry No. 4365), it has historical significance, through telling the story of Anglican worship in Oamaru.

Anglican services were held in Oamaru from the early 1860s, in a variety of makeshift venues such as the Oamaru goods shed, the Greta Street School and the courthouse. Oamaru became a parish in 1864. In July 1862, the Reverend Algernon Gifford was licensed to the township and pastoral district of Oamaru, and the parish set to work raising funds for a church. Dunedin architects Edward Rumsey and Adam Jackson won the competition to design the church, with William Armson as supervising architect, and James Bruce as the contractor. Right Reverend Lord Bishop of Christchurch laid the foundation stone and dedicated the cornerstone on 20 June 1865. The first service was held on 29 October, but the church was not consecrated until 13 May 1866.

A residence for the vicar was also an early concern, but it was not until 1909 that the current vicarage was built. The Parish sold the earlier vicarage on Hull Street to finance a new vicarage next to St Luke’s Church. With the arrival of the new vicar, Reverend J.G.S. Bartlett the church wardens moved a motion for the construction of a new vicarage, at a cost not more than £1700. The current vicarage was built around 1909, on the site below the Sunday School, which had been built in 1897, and to the west of the church. Oamaru architect John Megget Forrester designed the substantial residence. Forrester advertised for tenders in May 1908. With his wife, Bartlett moved in on 20 March 1909.

The substantial two storey residence is built of Oamaru stone, with a tile roof, in a ‘mock Tudor’ style. Not everyone thought this was a good site for the vicarage. Hadden Dennison, at the rating Assessment Court, stated that the vicarage ‘was fit only for a clergyman to live in’, explaining that ‘no one but a man of calm, even temperament, such as a clergyman, could endure the noises and nuisances of the site.’

The prominent house still looks over the busy main streets of Oamaru, and in 2015, remains the home to the incumbent vicar the Reverend Timothy Hurd.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Forrester & Lemon

The architectural partnership of Forrester and Lemon was established in Oamaru in 1872.

Thomas Forrester (1838-1907) was born in Glasgow and educated at the Glasgow School of Art. Emigrating to New Zealand in 1861 he settled in Dunedin and worked under William Mason (1810-97) and William Henry Clayton (1823-77) and later Robert Arthur Lawson (1833-1902). In 1865 he superintended the Dunedin Exhibition and from 1870 he became involved with the supervision of harbour works. Some time after 1885 he became Engineer to the Oamaru Harbour Board and in this capacity designed the repairs to the breakwater following storm damage in 1886 and later the Holmes Wharf. On his death in 1907 he was still in the employ of the Harbour Board.

John Lemon (1828-1890) was born in Jamaica and travelled to England before emigrating to New Zealand in 1849. He settled in Oamaru in 1860 and with his brother Charles established a timber merchant's business. By 1869 he was in partnership with his father-in-law, George Sumpter calling themselves "Timber and General Merchants, Land and Commission Agents". This partnership was dissolved in 1872 and Lemon entered into partnership with Forrester. Lemon had no architectural experience at all, but had a wide circle of business contacts and was an efficient administrator.

Buildings designed by the partnership of Forrester and Lemon include St Paul's Church (1875-76), the Harbour Board Offices (1876), Queen's (later Brydone) Hotel (1881), Waitaki Boys' High School (1883), The Courthouse (1883) and the Post Office (1883-84), all in Oamaru. Forrester and Lemon contributed greatly to Oamaru's nineteenth century character. On Lemon's death in 1890 the practice was taken over by Forrester's son, John Megget Forrester (1865-1965).

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1908 - 1909

1955 -
Kitchen modernised

Completion Date

12th August 2015

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

North Otago Times

North Otago Times

22 Jun 1865, p. 2

Oamaru Mail

Oamaru Mail

11 May 1908, p. 3.; 4 Apr 1910, p. 3.

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times, 10 Oct 1864, p. 8.

Naylor, 1962

W. Naylor, Anglican centenary : a narrative covering 100 years of the Church of England in North Otago, Oamaru, 1962, Oamaru Mail Company

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand