(Click on an image to view a Larger Picture)
Larnach Castle. Copyright - John Murray.
Larnach Castle (often incorrectly referred to as "Larnach's Castle"), is an imposing mansion on the ridge of Otago Peninsula within the limits of the city of Dunedin, New Zealand. It is one of only two castles in New Zealand, the other of which (Cargill's Castle, also in Dunedin) is now a ruin. For this reason it is often referred as New Zealand's only castle. It is also one of New Zealand's few "stately houses".
The castle was built between 1873 and 1887 as the residence of William Larnach, a prominent entrepreneur and politician in colonial New Zealand. Much of the construction was carried out under the guidance of local architect R.A. Lawson, who was also responsible for many of the other fine buildings in Dunedin. The finished building contained 43 rooms plus a ballroom, and required a staff of 46 servants.
Sadly, the building, which Larnach himself simply called "The Camp," did nothing to stop his own downfall. After a series of personal and financial disasters he committed suicide in New Zealand's Parliament Buildings in October 1898. The castle's ballroom is reputedly haunted by the ghost of Larnach's daughter Katie, who died days after her 21st birthday.
The building, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, was bought by Barry and Margaret Barker in 1967, and has since been restored to its full glory. Spectacular views of the Otago Peninsula and Harbour can be gained from the castle, which is 10 kilometres by road from the city centre.
The castle and its grounds are regularly open to the public, and Larnach Castle is now seen as one of the jewels in Dunedin's tourist crown.