Fairfield House, Nelson

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Fairfield House in 2012

Fairfield House in 48 Van Diemen Street, Nelson, New Zealand,[1] is registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I structure. Originally built in 1849, today's house was constructed as a residence for Arthur Samuel Atkinson in 1872. It was at some stage owned by the Nelson College for Girls, who used it as a boarding house. After the 1929 Murchison earthquake, boarders from Nelson College also moved in, as their hostel got damaged.[2] The house was given to Nelson City Council in 1979 and was threatened with demolition. A community group formed that had the objective of saving the house. Alan Stanton moved into the derelict building as a squatter and started restoring it. Today, it is a community centre.[3]

Atkinson, who was the brother of Premier Harry Atkinson, had an observation tower built onto the house in 1883, as his hobby was astronomy.[3] He was tasked by the Royal Society to observe the transit of Venus in 1882.[2] The tower had at one point been demolished,[3] but a replica has since been built.[2]


  1. ^ "Fairfield House". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Chapman, Caitlin. "Fairfield House". The Prow. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Fairfield House". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 

Coordinates: 41°17′02″S 173°17′00″E / 41.283894°S 173.283463°E / -41.283894; 173.283463