Throwback Thursday: Nelson College


Fostering minds like Earnest Rutherford, Nelson College was first established in April, 1856 on Manuka Street.

In October, 1861 the school’s 49 pupils moved into a new building built by the Robertson Brothers on Waimea Rd and two years later became a state school.


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Unfortunately, on the 45th anniversary of laying the foundation stone in December 1904, a painter’s lamp started a fire and burnt down the school.

The fire is depicted in the photo above.

A new brick building replaced the former wooden structure in 1907 but disaster struck once more in 1929 when Nelson’s severest earthquake destroyed the grand building.

Chimneys and windows plummeted and the clock tower tore apart, falling onto the building’s main entrance where students had run through mere seconds before.

The third building was opened on October 12, 1942. Needless to say, it was made to withstand earthquake and fire and as the current building, has stood the test of time and nature.