Don Barham, president of the Friends of Olveston, reflects
on the birth of Dorothy Theomin, 120 years ago. Photo by
Supporters of Olveston hope that the economic downturn
will encourage more New Zealanders to visit the historic
35-room Edwardian home.
More than a million people have visited the grand two-storey
house since it opened to the public in October 1967.
It hosts between 30,000 and 40,000 visitors a year.
The house, which has a 1276 sq m floor area and was designed
by leading London architect Sir Ernest George, was given to
the City of Dunedin by its previous owner, Dorothy Theomin.
She had died, aged 77, in October, 1966.
Don Barham, president of the Friends of Olveston, visited the
house on Christmas Eve to mark the 120th anniversary of Miss
Theomin's birth, on December 24, 1888.
Many of Olveston's more recent visitors have been overseas
Mr Barham hoped the economic downturn would encourage more
New Zealanders, including more Dunedin residents, to visit
Olveston, the former home of the Theomin family.
Miss Theomin had been a remarkable, public-spirited person,
who had also been a keen golfer and mountaineer, he said.
As well as giving Olveston to Dunedin, she was also a strong
supporter of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, serving as
president of the art gallery society.
Her father, a leading Dunedin businessman, David Theomin, had
Olveston built, with the Theomin family taking up residence
there in 1907.