New Zealand Parliamentary Library

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
New Zealand Parliamentary Library
WellingtonParliamentaryLibrary gobeirne.jpg
The Parliamentary Library (right) in 2006
General information
Architectural styleGothic Revival
Town or cityWellington
CountryNew Zealand
Coordinates41°16′38″S 174°46′36″E / 41.27723°S 174.77666°E / -41.27723; 174.77666
Construction started1897
Technical details
Structural systemBrick
Design and construction
ArchitectThomas Turnbull
John Campbell
Designated20 July 1989
Reference no.217
NZHP website

The New Zealand Parliamentary Library (formerly the General Assembly Library)[1] was completed in 1899 and is the oldest of the extant buildings in the Parliament complex. It stands to the north of Parliament House (to its right, looking from the front).

The library was originally designed as a three-storey building by Thomas Turnbull in Gothic Revival style.[2] It was fire resistant, being constructed of brick made at Mount Cook gaol[3] with an iron firedoor separating the library from the main entrance section. The third storey of the design was not built to save money (costs had reached £50,000) and it was completed by the government architect John Campbell. He redesigned the parapets, gables and roof to take account of the building's reduced height.[4] Turnbull dissociated himself from the entire project and asked for his name to be removed from the foundation stone.

The fireproofing saved the library from the fire of 1907, which destroyed the rest of the (wooden) parliament buildings. (Exactly the same thing happened in Ottawa, Canada, in 1916—with fire doors saving the Library when the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament burned.)[5]

Like Parliament House, the building was strengthened and refurbished in the 1990s. It still houses Parliament's library.[6]

The building is registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I heritage structure with registration number 217.[6]


  1. ^ McLintock, Alexander Hare, ed. (2005) [originally published in 1966]. "General Assembly Library, Wellington". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Parliamentary Library". Wellington City Council. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  3. ^ O'Neil, Andrea (16 September 2015). "Mt Cook Gaol a loathed landmark on Wellington's finest site". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  4. ^ Parliamentary Library, Parliament Grounds, Molesworth Street, Wellington City Heritage, 6 March 2013, pp. 3, 4, 9, retrieved 17 June 2019
  5. ^ "Feb. 03, 1916: When Canada's Parliament burned". Radio Canada. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Parliamentary Library". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 10 January 2014.

External links[edit]