Skip to main content

Seddon Memorial

Richard John Seddon's Memorial is located on the original site of Wellington's first Time Service Observatory at the Kinross Street entrance to the Bolton Street Cemetery. Located under the memorial is the Seddon family tomb. It contains the remains of Rt Hon Richard Seddon (1845-1906) and Mrs Louisa Seddon (1851- 1931), daughter Mary Stuart Hay and a memorial to their son Richard John Spotswood Seddon who was killed in France in 1918.

The Memorial was designed by Government Architect, John Campbell, and built by Edwards and Son of Waring Taylor St. The design is a reinforced concrete column faced with Coromandel granite, mounted over the tomb on a square concrete base. The bronze figure at the top of the column was modelled at the London studio of Henry Poole, a young British sculptor, and cast in London by Alessandro Parlanti. The statue represents the State in mourning for its dead. In the left hand is a wreath of mourning leaves and in the right a scroll of State, with the seals dependent. The right foot rests on two books, possibly legal, and a small twig breaks the hardness of the column.

Update: September 2021

Since our March update, the first stage of this two-phase project has now been completed.

The statue has been removed to make the area safer, structural investigations have been undertaken, and the seismic design is now being refined and reviewed.

Stage two will be comprehensive and will include conserving and making a more resilient memorial for the future. The start date of stage two is yet to be confirmed, as we are still in the planning and costing process. 

While this work is in progress, members of the public should not linger in the area until the completion of the entire strengthening project.

Earlier update: March 2021

Since our last update, we have been working closely with architects and engineers to investigate options to fix the identified structural issues.

We have now identified two phases to remediate the issues – the first phase involves the removal of the bronze statue, investigation into the internal elements of the structure, minor conservation works and confirming the currently proposed seismic design. The second phase involves earthquake strengthening, completion of all remaining conservation works and landscaping.

Phase 1 has already begun with the fencing off of the site and the removal of the statue at the top of the memorial to make the area safer in the event of an earthquake.

From there, samples will be taken from the memorial to determine the best course of remedial action for the memorial.

Once the first phase is complete, we will have a better picture of the timeframe and costs to complete the strengthening of the Memorial.  

Members of the public should still not linger in the area until the completion of the entire strengthening project.


Earlier update: August 2020

A recent seismic assessment of the Seddon Memorial has found that the structure is below the recommended minimum level of the New Building Standard, and it is now considered earthquake-prone.  

The Memorial does not pose a risk under normal circumstances, but there is a risk of the column falling during a significant earthquake.

We are working quickly to carry out the work required to ensure the Memorial’s surroundings are made safe, and appropriate signage has been installed at the site.

Updates on the progress of this work will be provided on this webpage.

If you have any queries, please email [email protected] with ‘Seddon Memorial’ in the subject line or telephone (04) 499 4229.


Location of the Seddon Memorial.

Learn more about Richard John Seddon in his Dictionary of New Zealand Biography profile on Te Ara.

Bolton Street Memorial Park.

Updated on 6th October 2021