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.
Built entirely from locally quarried limestone, with timber detailing inside and out, St Albans vicarage and adjoining chapel have rough-hewn stone walls with contrasting ashlar foundations, quoins, door and window surrounds, string courses, chimneys and buttresses (chapel only). The gabled roof forms of both buildings are sheathed in corrugated iron and another feature common to both is the extensive use of timber lined ceilings which have been laid on the diagonal.
The chapel is a small building four bays in length. It stands south of the vicarage, roughly parallel to the adjacent highway. An entrance foyer projecting from the liturgical south side of the building forms a link between the chapel and vicarage and also provides external access to the former via a pair of double doors which are framed by a cross gable echoing the larger roof forms of the vicarage. Lit by large rectangular windows divided into multiple panes, the chapel has a central aisle and a slightly elevated chancel which is otherwise continuous with the main body of the church. At the liturgical west end of the building a fireplace, which has since been superseded by a pot belly stove, projects into the "nave" and is flanked by a freestanding organ. Beside the latter, on the liturgical south side of the chapel, there is also an external door which provides access to the two outhouses at the rear of the vicarage which appear to have been built to serve the churchgoers' needs.
Most of the chapel's furniture and fittings have been donated by local families, including the stained glass window behind the altar which depicts three images of Christ; the Rock of the Church, "I am the Way the Truth and the Life", and the Good Shepherd. Gifted by Doug McIlraith in memory of his wife Anne, who died in 1968, the window has richly coloured stained glass set against a background of diamond shaped panes of pale cathedral glass. Decorative air vents set into the ceiling and walls provide minor ornamental accents within the chapel which is partially carpeted and has a panelled dado.
St Alban's vicarage is a large two-storeyed house designed in a restrained English Revival style. Characteristic of this style are the bracketed eaves, half-timbered gable ends and the picturesque asymmetry of the exterior composition which is dominated by steeply pitched roof forms articulated by prominent bargeboards and chimneystacks. The two principal elevations of the house face north-east and north-west and both feature square bay windows crowned with hipped roofs and cast iron crestings and verandahs carried on timber posts beneath a frieze of turned spindles. A small cross gable breaks through the verandah on the north-east side of the house, thereby signalling the location of the main entrance, and it is echoed by another cross gable, crowning a first floor window above the same verandah, which lights the master bedroom. The entire house is lit by large sash windows and, where the architect has sought to emphasise the major compositional elements of the building's exterior, these are grouped in pairs or in threes, as is the case with the principal by facing north-west.
Inside the vicarage the main entrance opens into a hall which extends the length of the house and features a decorative hall arch at the foot of the dog-leg stair which rises to the first floor. Two spacious living rooms open off the entrance hall in front of the hall arch, beyond which two passages at right angles to the hall provide access to the study, and thence to the chapel, and the service wing in the southern corner of the house. The main hall and stair landing are lit by leaded windows and windows of a similar design are also featured in the inglenook of the principal living room which faces north-east. An informal sitting room which is adjacent to the living room communicates with it via a serving hatch and at the rear of the house the kitchen and bathroom flank the back stair and rear exit. A lean-to projecting from the back of the house contains a meat store and washhouse.
On the first floor five bedrooms are arranged around the upper landing, including the master bedroom which has an adjoining dressing room. A built-in linen cupboard and a second bathroom, which retains its original tin bath and massive overhead shower rose, are also located on this floor which is slightly elevated above the two servants' bedrooms in the service wing. The latter is unlined on both the ground and first floors and thus its internal walls reveal the limestone construction on the building.
An internal wall was removed from the first floor of the service wing, thus converting two rooms into one. The original kitchen and scullery were probably converted to a sitting room and kitchen at the same time as the serving hatch was installed between the former and the main living room.
- 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.
this page is correct to the best of the Trust's knowledge. If you have any additional
information you would like to share with the Trust, please
contact the Registrar.
You may wish to contact the Trust to view our paper records.