The site of NZ's first lunatic asylum

Last updated 11:01 06/06/2012

Relevant offers


Wadestown Rd oozes history A women's cricket pioneer Answering the bugle call The road to Erskine College The Fat Freddy's Drop legacy Street history: Owhiro Bay Pde Tim Whitta strikes a chord Cutting to the heart of Miramar The dead centre of Wellington A bishop with his own style

Donald Street runs from Karori Rd up to a twisting end near Croydon St at the foot of Wrights Hill.

Along with the parallel Campbell St and Beauchamp St, Donald St was a section boundary when farmland in the Karori valley was split into lots in the 1850s.

It is named after Robert Donald, who arrived in New Zealand with his wife, Jane, in 1850.

A former gardener, Mr Donald bought 15 acres along the street and established a tree nursery and tea gardens.

The gardens were opened in 1853, advertised as a "picnic and fruit gardens, open daily, Sabbaths excepted''.

They survived several changes of ownership until they were closed in 1914.

Their last owner was a notable resident of Donald St, Dr Daisy Platts-Mills, one of New Zealand's first female doctors.

In 1900 she was one of five and 706 men on the medical register.

Dr Platts-Mills was the first woman to work in private practice in Wellington, and later became the first woman medical officer to the Public Service Commission.

She was an advocate of children, and of young women who had moved to Wellington to work in the public service.

Donald St was also the site of the Karori Lunatic Asylum, New Zealand's first.

Poorly run, it was closed in 1875 and the buildings were turned into what is now Karori Normal School.

Although the school has been revamped in recent years, a memorial to its most famous pupil, Katherine Mansfield, remains.

Mansfield attended Karori School in 1895 and wrote about one of the trees in the school grounds in her stories.

Ad Feedback

- The Wellingtonian


Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content