Sir John Logan Campbell - The Father of Auckland

Friday, January 24, 2014

When Hobson settled on building his new capital on the shore of the Waitemata, John Logan Campbell spotted the opportunity.  He and his friend William Brown knew that buying land, building parts of the new township then selling it off in sections would bring them great wealth.  Having amassed riches, Campbell didn't believe in hording it, but rather in giving back to the city. 

Best known for gifting Cornwall Park to the people of New Zealand, Dr Campbell (as he was known) also had great affection for a site that overlooked the Waitemata, near where the Parnell Rose Garden now stands.  On this site he built his dream home; a gracious Italianate mansion.  He loved the views of the sea from the promontory – watching the ships, and gazing out to Browns Island (Motukorea) where he and William Brown first settled in 1840.

In the museum’s collection is a land deed for the Parnell site.  After Campbell died in 1912, the house sat empty until 1918 when it was used briefly as a fever hospital during the influenza epidemic. Sadly it was demolished after only four decades, and even part of the land itself has given way for the railway and the construction of Tamaki Drive.


This, and other impacts of John Logan Campbell can be found in city records, including the Auckland Harbour Board Archive, part of the Voyager NZ Maritime Museum Collection.