Historic Place Category 1
Pt Lot A DP 1022 Blk I Kurow SD
Between 1881 and 1891 the Anglican community in and around Kurow was served by curates who resided locally but who were appointed to the vicar of Oamaru. In 1891 this situation changed, however, when the Waitaki Mission District was established and Hugh Corrie Frere was appointed as the first curate of the new parish. At the same time Emily Campbell, wife of the late Robert Campbell who was one of North Otago's leading landowners, left a large bequest of approximately £5300 to finance the erection of a church and vicarage in the district.
Emily Campbell's generosity proved to be somewhat of a mixed blessing, however, as the Anglicans of Duntroon initially disputed Kurow's suitability as the parish's centre. The New Zealand Church News of August 1892 records that Mrs Campbell's legacy was causing divisions within the district's Anglicans although "Kurow (was) really the proper centre of operations, and ought probably to have both the church and parsonage". [NZ Church News, Vol XXII, No. 8, p7]. Happily the controversy was eventually resolved by Bishop Nevill of Dunedin who recommended that a church be erected at Duntroon whilst a vicarage and adjoining chapel were built at Kurow. £2,500 was subsequently allocated for the construction of the latter, which began forthwith, although St Martin's Church at Duntroon was not erected until 1901 to a design by Christchurch architect, Thomas Cane.
The large size of the Kurow vicarage may in part be explained by the fact that the first incumbent at St Alban's had a large family and a private income with which to pay domestic and stable staff. The last resident vicar at Kurow vacated the house in 1970.
The Anglican chapel and vicarage at Kurow stand as visible reminders of the important role played by the church in the growth and development of small rural communities all over New Zealand in the late nineteenth century.
The combined chapel and vicarage at Kurow would appear to be the only example of this building type in New Zealand. This architectural grouping is therefore very significant both in terms of Anglican ecclesiastical architecture and of Christian building design in general in this country. The near original condition of the chapel, vicarage and adjacent outbuildings greatly enhance their architectural importance.
Partially screened by vegetation, St Alban's chapel and vicarage nevertheless make an important contribution to the landscape of the Upper Waitaki Valley. The buildings' landmark value is considerably enhanced by their singular construction and their proximity to a contemporary stable which is also built of limestone. The latter contains a tack room, buggy shed, loose box and groom's room with its own fireplace, and its walls are of ashlar masonry construction.
The physical attachment of the chapel and vicarage.
- Original Construction: 1892 - 1894 (circa)
North Otago limestone, kauri woodwork, corrugated iron roofing.
- Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905
- Christchurch Press,20 March 1976, p11
6 September 1986, p21
- Church News,April 1892, Vol. XXII, No. 4, p7
August 1892, Vol XXII, No. 8, p7
- P C McCarthy, Victorian Oamaru: The Architecture of Forrester and Lemon, Thesis, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, 1986
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.
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