The Lady Thorn Dell – Buy
Sir John Thorn was born in Dunedin in 1911 and by the time he reached his late teens he had moved to the suburb of Port Chalmers to begin a plumbing apprenticeship. Living in the area, he went on to own a number of businesses that included a plumbing firm, a betting agency (TAB) and a bookshop. He married his wife Constance in 1936 and became Mayor of Port Chalmers in 1956. This was a position he went on to hold for 33 years until the borough of Port Chalmers and the surrounding district was amalgamated into the enlarged City of Dunedin in 1989. In total, he and his wife served the Port Chalmers community for nearly half a century, something he was knighted for in 1984. While his wife Lady Constance Thorn passed away in 1997, Sir John Thorn lived to the age of 97 until his death in 2008.
When Lady Thorn passed away, the community wanted to do something to recognise her commitment and service to the Port Chalmers District. Nearby at the Port, there stood a disused quarry site that was used to supply bluish-grey stone to public works projects in the Port and around Dunedin city. It was this site that was chosen to develop into a Rhododendron Dell in honour of the Late Lady Thorn.
Nowadays, the Dell features a numerous array of plants, bushes and flowers that have transformed the former quarry into something rather beautiful. It also features an elevated lookout that provides panoramic views of the harbour and Port Chalmers area.
Having never been to the Lady Thorn Dell, upon my return from a trip out to Aramoana, I stopped and spent a lovely half an hour taking in every inch of the garden which really is a hidden gem.