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Offering a unique glimpse into the extraordinary lives of one of Dunedin’s prominent Edwardian families, Olveston is a must to visit for lovers of art and culture.
Olveston was the home of businessman, collector and philanthropist David Theomin. Designed by English architect Sir Ernest George, the property was built with every modern convenience, including central heating, a gas generator for electricity, a shower and heated towel-rails in each bathroom, an internal telephone system, and a service lift.
The house was also lavishly furnished with exotic artefacts, prized artworks, antiques, carpets, ceramics, statues and weaponry purchased from around the world. Olveston was inherited by the Theomins’ daughter Dorothy in 1933, who continued the family tradition of philanthropy, while supporting many artistic and community causes championed by her parents, including Dunedin Public Art Gallery and the Plunket Society.
Following Dorothy’s death in 1966, it was discovered that Olveston, complete with the original contents, had been gifted to the people of Dunedin. Visiting Olveston is by guided tour only. These tours reveal the extraordinary lives of the Theomin family and allow a glimpse of Dunedin’s rich business, artistic and social history from the mid-1800s until the 1960s.
Dunedin residents are invited to become a lifelong ‘‘Olveston Host’’ and visit Olveston free of charge (conditions apply) when accompanied by a paying guest.
Guided tours begin daily at 9.30am, 10.45am, noon, 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 4pm.
For more information and details of other activities and events held at the house throughout the year, hosting weddings in the grounds, private events and pre- or post-tour catering options, phone (03) 477-3320 or visit www.olveston.co.nz