David Theomin wanted to build a substantial home that could house his growing collection of paintings and artefacts from all around the world. He intended that Olveston would eventually be left to his future generations to enjoy. Sadly this was not to be the case as both his children didn't have any children of their own.
Designed by the acclaimed architect, Sir Ernest George of London. The building of Olveston took two years to build (1904 to 1906) and was overseen by local architects, Mason & Wales.
The house was gifted to the City of Dunedin upon the death of Dorothy Theomin in 1966. She had been the sole surviving family member since her father died in 1933. A Trust Board was set up called the Theomin Gallery Management Committee to manage the property as a public visitor attraction.
Olveston is a time capsule and there has been little change since the house was occupied as a family home from 1906 to 1926 when Miss Theomin died. It is therefore an authentic and original historic house depicting the way of life of a well to do family in the early part of the twentieth century.