Melrose, New Zealand

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CountryNew Zealand
Local authorityWellington City
EastIsland Bay
SouthHoughton Bay
WestLyall Bay

Melrose is a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand. It is south of the city centre, Berhampore and New Zealand, and is in the Eastern Ward. Although adjacent to Lyall Bay, it does not have seafront access to the bay.


In 1879 the Melrose Estate was put up for auction. The land had belonged to Alexander Sutherland who died in 1877, and was sold to Mace and Jackson and then a syndicate known as Melrose Proprietors. Like James Coutts Crawford’s subdivision of the Seatoun township on the Miramar Peninsula, there were few buyers because of difficult access. Crawford's earlier auction of Kilbirnie sections in 1874 had attracted mainly speculators buying cheap land rather than would-be homeowners.[1]

The Melrose Borough was established in 1888 from the earlier Kilbirnie Road Board, to serve a horseshoe-shaped and largely rural area stretching from Upland Farm (later Kelburn) through Brooklyn and Island Bay and to areas later called Haitaitai and Roseneath. Initially it was to be called the Borough of Southend.[2]

The borough experienced rapid growth from the early 1890s, mainly in Kilbirnie, Brooklyn and Island Bay. Amalgamation with Wellington City would avoid large borough debt for amenities like drainage, water supply and a separate electric tramway system. Wellington City was planning an electric tramway system to replace the private horse tramways, and purchased them in 1902 (the first electric line was opened in 1904).[3]

In June 1902 a poll of Melrose residents agreed to join the Wellington City Council, and amalgamation proceeded in 1903. Extension of new electric tramway to the area plus water supply and sewerage was promised within three years, although held up by Island Bay "malcontents" wanting a firm commitment of a tramway extension to Island Bay.[4]

There was a "boom" in house construction in Melrose and Kilbirnie in 1907.[5]

Further reading[edit]

  • Humphris Adrian; Mew Geoff (2009). Ring Around the City: Welliongton’s New Suburbs 1900-1930. Wellington: Steele Roberts. ISBN 978-1-877448-67-6.


Coordinates: 41°19′S 174°47′E / 41.317°S 174.783°E / -41.317; 174.783