The Steenson collection was gifted to the Forrester Gallery by the late (Harry) H K Steenson in 1984. It consists of 618 architectural drawings from the practice of Forrester & Lemon, later Forrester & Steenson. Thomas Forrester and John Lemon established the practice in 1872 and Thomas’ son took over the practice in 1890, inviting (Ivan) W I C Steenson to join the practice in 1921. John retired in 1931 and Ivan continued the practice with his son Harry until 1993. The majority of the drawings relate to the building or alteration of domestic homes and retail shops in the Oamaru township
These items reveal aspects of the history of the Waitaki district. The story of our land begins millions of years ago, when the Waitaki, like much of New Zealand, lay under the sea. During this time, Ōamaru’s famous limestone formed on the seafloor. It preserves some of the most incredible fossils in the world.
Meet the animals and plants that have called this place home – living and extinct, giant and microscopic. This highlight also includes items related to how people have understood and used the amazing geology of our land.
These items explore views of the Ōamaru Harbour and the central place that it the harbour plays in the story of Ōamaru.
Heritage Art Collection
This is a curated selection of artworks from the collection of the Forrester Gallery which were created between approx. 1850 and 1920. In most part the selection features images of special places in the Waitaki District – such as Oamaru Harbour, Cape Wanbrow, Waianakarua and Moeraki. We have also included some works by artists of significance from the same time period, such as: George Chance, Claus Fristrom, Margaret Stoddart, and Petrus Van der Velden. The architectural drawings of the Forrester Gallery by R A Lawson are also included due to their high artistic value and significance
In the mid 1800s, Ōamaru was a bustling outpost of the British Empire. Immigrants from different cultural and social backgrounds settled here in search of a better life. Colonisation changed the landscape and the lives of Māori profoundly.
These objects from the Victorian era represent two sides of the colonial dream. Some people found fame and fortune beyond their wildest imaginings. Others endured hardship and tragedy.
Memorial Oak Plaques
By the end of World War I in November 1918, most over 360 young men and one woman from the North Otago district had lost their lives in service.
As a mark of respect to those soldiers who had died, Dr Alexander Douglas, President of the Oamaru Beautifying Society, suggested that an oak tree, along with an inscribed cross, be planted for each war casualty from the region.
The memorial oaks crosses can be seen throughout North Otago, cared for by the people of the region out of respect to those who served in distant lands