photo credit: Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism


Magnetic Observatory

Several capital projects have been approved by Council for development in the Botanic Gardens once funds have been raised. The Trust and Council have agreed that the first of these shall be the conservation and interpretation of the Christchurch Magnetic Observatory. Located on the Observatory Lawn near the children’s playground, the Magnetic Observatory was essential to heroic early expeditions to Antarctica, including those of Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton.

The Magnetic Observatory was a series of laboratories erected more than 100 years ago, in recognition of the importance which was placed on furthering science and understanding our world. Then and now, the Observatory represents the key links between Antarctica and Christchurch – the world's aerial gateway to Antarctica.

Today, the one remaining building of this science complex – the Observatory Workshop – holds the secrets of past exploration and ongoing discovery. The Trust wants to open this up to everyone and celebrate the Magnetic Observatory’s story. With your help, we will lay bare the secrets of the past and discover the future of Christchurch’s relationship with Antarctica.

Sign up to receive email updates on the project HERE

To donate now click HERE

To find out more please contact:

Kay Carston, Trustee and Secretary, Christchurch Botanic Gardens Trust:
Wolfgang Bopp, Trustee, Christchurch Botanic Gardens Trust: (027) 235 8713

Credit(s) to Pearson Associates.


Other Projects

In addition to the Magnetic Observatory, a number of other projects have been identified by the Christchurch City Council for future development in the Botanic Gardens. The Trust will also be fundraising for one or more of these projects in agreement with the Council:

  • Visitor Centre Bridge - for better visitor accessibility and fewer delivery vehicles in the grounds.
  • Children's Play Landscape - integrating a revitalised playground with a Children's Garden.
  • New Conservatory Complex - improved growing conditions and displays around a restored Cuningham House.