Campbell Park Stables built at the same time as Robert Campbell’s grand homestead and designed by Dunedin architectural partnership Mason and Wales, the Campbell Park Stables form a key element in the historic landscape of this outstandingly significant estate. The stables have aesthetic, architectural and historical significance.
William Dansey was established on Otekaike by May 1858. William Henry Dansey, the youngest son of a scholarly rector, was educated at Exeter College, Oxford. He arrived in Port Chalmers in December 1854 and after visiting Port Nicholson and Nelson, made his way to the Waitaki Valley. Dansey had a house on Run 28 by early 1859, as he is reported as an elector in the Waitaki District in April of that year. A survey plan from April 1861 Dansey’s freehold: a 92 acre block with his house, stable and futtah, and an adjacent 11 acre block with ‘men’s house’ and woolshed.’ Dansey laid the foundation for the next runholder – Robert Campbell – who would make the property one of the most significant in New Zealand.
Robert Campbell, the Eton-educated son of a wealthy gentleman, bought the property in March 1865. Campbell owned Galloway Station in Central Otago, Benmore Station near Omarama, and three Southland runs. He built up a grand estate with his gentleman’s residence in Scottish Baronial style, the crowning jewel. The stable (the earlier stable was also used, but was later demolished) was probably built at the same time as the residence, as such a building was essential to the operation of the property. Horses provided the motive power for transport, cultivation and haulage.
For all his wealth and privilege life did not go well for Campbell. Family scandals and heavy drinking took its toll on his performance and reputation. Campbell’s involvement at Otekaike declined. The property was transferred to a family holding company (Robert Campbell & Sons Ltd), the seventh-largest corporate landholder in New Zealand in 1882. Robert Campbell died in 1889 and his wife a year later. Otekaike Station leases were due to expire in 1911 but the Company surrendered them early and the station was broken up for closer settlement in 1908, after considerable public pressure.
The Otekaike Station was subdivided into seven small grazing runs, thirty seven farms and twelve smallholdings, the largest ballot for settlement sections held in North Otago. Four properties were allocated as ‘preferential blocks’ and allocated to former employees of Robert Campbell and Sons Limited, though this caused vocal protests. The grand homestead, stables and other buildings along with 342 acres of land was handed over the Education Department as a Otekaike Special School for Boys. The school was a national institution providing for special education of developmentally delayed (‘feeble minded as initially labelled) boys. In 1925 it moved to the jurisdiction of the Child Welfare Division. It was renamed Campbell Park School in 1964. When the school was closed in 1995, the property was sold.
The Campbell Park Stable is built of stone and has a corrugated iron roof. It is set out in a U-shape, square in plan. The two main wings are parallel and separated by a yard. The connection between the wings is at the north. Two arches provide access to the courtyard from the driveway. Originally there was a chimney at each north gable end but these have been removed. In recent years there has been storm damage to the roof. In 2016, the stable remains a key element in the historic Campbell Park Estate.