Otago Peninsula Museum

The museum and its outdoor displays of local interest

The Otago Peninsula Museum was started by local people in 1974, with a small room in the Portobello Coronation Hall used to display photographs and historical items.  In 1986 the Museum was opened in its present site. The main office building and display room was built and an original  settler’s cottage from Portobello was  donated. A replica barn was built to house farm machinery and equipment collected from locals and the surrounding countryside.  Recent additions include;

    • A Peninsula Motor Service bus cab
    • The Cape Saunders lighthouse lantern room
    • The old local jail
    • The radar room from Taiaroa Head
    • Local ANZAC memorial rock
    • A cannon found at Harington Point

Copy of Image (6)The Museum also collects local family histories and genealogies as well as photographs relating to the Otago Peninsula and its families. In 2012 the Museum wrote a book “Portobello – A Brief History” and this was reprinted in 2013.  This is a fascinating account of the history of the Portobello community and its early beginnings as a settlement in 1840. With a range of historic photographs of places, houses and people this local history is a must for genealogists and those interested in this historic area. Copies are available ($25 or $28 if posted) from the Museum – 17 Harington Point Road, Portobello, the local store and Gallery.  For more information contact Warren on 4780-255 or Faye 4780-739.

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The picturesque scenery of Portobello has long captured the imagination of many visitors to the township and remains a popular place for visitors today. Thomas Bracken the author of the New Zealand national anthem knew something locals know today when he wrote in 1879:

Portobello should not be omitted from the tourist catalogue of sights worth seeing.  This is indeed a charming spot, and the scenery along the road leading to it is simply magnificent.  Hill and dell, rock and fell, cairn and cataract, field and forest, land and ocean, follow each other in quick succession, and when the visitor arrives at Portobello he will naturally wonder why Australians and New Zealanders rush to Europe and America for sight-seeing when they can find such beautiful scenes within their own doors.

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Opening Hours

The Otago Peninsula Museum is run by local volunteers who along with a hardworking committee manage the exhibits, grounds and buildings.

The museum is open on Sunday afternoons  from 1.30-4.30pm.

Email the museum at theotagopeninsulamuseum@gmail.com

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Location of the Otago Peninsula Museum