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Welcome to Truby King House and Garden, a 1.9 hectare slice of history tucked into a beautiful corner of Wellington. This heritage-listed estate includes a unique house and garden nestled in Wellington’s Melrose hills along the Southern Walkway. Though one of Wellington’s lesser known gardens, this estate offers a special look at Wellington’s past, as well as the ocean below.
The former Truby King House was designed by the prominent Wellington architect William Gray Young in 1923 for the founders of the Plunket Society, Sir Truby and Lady Isabella King.
The building and park have national significance for their association with the King family and as the place where Sir Frederic Truby King and Lady Isabella King were interred.
Truby King House and Garden has had several prominent residents over time- perhaps most notably Sir Truby King himself. Together, Sir Truby and Lady Isabella co-founded the Plunket Society in 1907. They later founded similar societies in England, Australia, South Africa, India and Canada.
Sir Truby and Lady Isabella King are widely remembered for their contribution to improving the health of children and the mentally ill. Their work created refuge for recovering mothers and children. The estate serves as their final resting place today, with both interred in an onsite mausoleum.
The Plunket Society took over the property as well as the adjacent baby products factory and Karitane Hospital in 1932. The house was used as a dormitory for senior nurses and at other times as office space for the Plunket Society.
Today, the house is ranked by both New Zealand Historic Places Trust and City Council as a heritage listing.
The house - designed by architect William Gray Young and built in 1923 – is noted for its unique 1920s design. The architect tailored his work to the location, allowing for extra windows to let in the natural light.
Although the gardens and Mausoleum are open to the public, the house is only opened to the public at an open day each year.
It was not until 1990-91 before the land including the house, mausoleum, and garden, was acquired by Wellington City Council.
You may notice on a stroll through this area that some spots are under maintenance. We are committed to protecting and maintaining these special, historic paths and structures so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Truby King had a knack for gardening. The collections of pines, roses, rhododendrons, and azaleas were planted in the 1920s by Sir Truby King himself, with some still flourishing today. You can still find pines and macrocarpas planted by Truby King around the estate.
The design of the estate includes a unique series of paths, brick walls and archways, with a stunning lookout over Lyall Bay.
Wellington City Council is working towards restoring the eclectic planting style of the original garden
Truby King House and Garden is located at 21 Manchester Terrace, off Manchester Street in Melrose.
To find out more contact us at:
Phone 04 499 1400
Truby King Park - All year | Dawn to dusk
Truby King House - Closed to the public (Except for an annual open day)
Truby King had a knack for gardening. The collections of pines, roses, rhododendrons, and azaleas were planted in the 1920s by Sir Truby King himself, with some still flourishing today. You can still find pines and macrocarpas planted by Truby King around the estate. Beautiful cherry trees line the drive around the house.
Wellington City Council is working towards restoring the eclectic planting style of the original garden.
There are lovely picnic spots throughout the garden ranging from tucked away lawns and nooks to windswept vistas with views over Lyall Bay and the airport.
When Lady Isabella was alive, the house and gardens were a fairly standard abode and grounds.
In later years, Sir Truby King became obsessed with brickworks. He commissioned an elaborate series of walls, stairs and arches around the property. The pathways, brick arches and lookouts add to the garden’s unique appeal.
Truby and his wife, a buried in a mausoleum that is located between the house and the gardens. His wife was transferred to the mausoleum after Trubys funeral from a cemetery in Porirua.
Although the gardens and Mausoleum are open to the public the house is not and viewing is by appointment only.
The house was designed by architect William Gray Young and built in 1923 - it has New Zealand Historic Places Trust and City Council heritage listings.
(The House is leased to Conservation Volunteers New Zealand and is closed to the public except for the annual open day).
Truby King Park is on the Southern Walkway Track. The walk continues above Kilbirnie to Melrose, a comfortable place to rest before the climb to Mount Albert.
From the reservoir, follow the Southern Walkway arrows, which takes you under the pines to Truby King Park bringing you out onto Manchester Street and then to Sutherland Crescent. Truby King Park has great grounds to stop and enjoy the surroundings, check out the rhododendrons in spring.
At the moment we are not accepting new volunteers at the Gardens. You can however volunteer to help at the Wellington Gardens by joining some of our partner groups. There are several active groups of volunteers who make an essential contribution to the Wellington Gardens. While some donate a few hours each month, other volunteers are in the Garden weekly.
Volunteers help in many different ways. Their time and effort range from hosting, representing Wellington as city ambassadors and even leading guided tours.
Please get in touch with us directly to offer your time.
In 1927 Truby retired from his Government appointments and devoted much of his declining energies in his retirement to the enjoyment of the vast collection of rhododendrons and gardens around his home.
These are best viewed in bloom during Spring.
A secret community built trail of fairy houses, doors and nooks. Why dont you add one for yourself... if you can find it!