End of the Line: short life and strange death of a white elephant

At shallow depth, just inside of the gates of the Linwood Cemetery, lies buried the remains of a white elephant, or, perhaps more accurately, just the archaeological trace remains of her 19th century tracks. More than eight years ago now I wrote one of my first archaeology blogs, which was about the archaeology of our old city tramways. Back then, lots of old tramline remains were resurfacing as a result of the post-earthquake   SCIRT infrastructure rebuild. In that blog I made brief mention to the tram line that once ran out to the Linwood Cemetery, and the strange saga of the Council’s tramway hearse. I was excited to discover that not only part of that 1880s cemetery tramline still survives to this day, but of all the many old tram routes the city once had, this particular one had perhaps the most interesting tale to tell. And so, some eight years down the track (no pun intended), the time has finally come to further flesh out the story of the city tram that once went out to the Linwood Cemetery, (or sort of once did), and the tramway hearse that, for better or worse, never got a chance to fulfil its true potential (or at the very least, fulfil its intended function). So, dear readers, the time has finally come to buy the ticket and join us for the ride, (don’t worry, in this instance a one way ticket is fine), for today we get off at the last stop, the cemetery at the end of the line.

Map of the Linwood Cemetery. Image: Christchurch City Council [online].

The Linwood Cemetery

Located off Butterfield Avenue behind Bromley Park, the Linwood Cemetery is the fifth oldest public cemetery in Christchurch, established in 1884. Although now surrounded by suburbia, 139 years ago this was a sparsely populated rural spot that was located a safe distance outside the city limits. This was important, as by this time there were genuine public health concerns about the practice of continuing to bury the dead in cemeteries that were located within built up urban areas. Christchurch’s biggest cemetery, in Barbadoes Street, was filling up fast (with over 300 internments a year), and the Council were starting to receive complaints from local residents about the objectionable odours that emanated from the swampy cemetery grounds, and of fears that the groundwater in their backyard wells would become contaminated by the decomposition of the dead (Bowman et. al. 2009). And so, in October 1883, the City Council formed a cemetery committee (made up of Councillors Bowman Vincent, Louisson, and Kiver) to look into finding an appropriate new spot where the dead could be buried a safe distance away from the living (Star, 16/10/1883: 4). The chosen location in Linwood was a most suitable one. It wasn’t too close to town but not too far away (something of a ‘Goldilocks Zone’). Spread out across a rolling sand dune, the sandy ground here was easy to dig, with tests confirming that except for the spots where there were hollows, no groundwater was encountered at a depth less than six feet (Press, 29/11/1883:3). In a peculiar irony, the first person to be buried here was Sarah Ann Freeman, the wife of the cemetery’s first sexton (caretaker/gravedigger), on 10 July 1884, a few months before the cemetery was officially opened in October (Burgess et. al 2006:12).

Gated entrance to the Linwood Cemetery, off Butterfield Avenue. Meet you here sometime, Morrissey Photo: Hamish Williams.

The Corporation Tramline and the tramway hearse

In March 1884, while the cemetery site was still being prepared, the City Council decided that given its location out of town, they would need to construct a tramway linking the city and cemetery, in order to make it easily accessible. This tramway, (which became known as the Corporation Line) was intended to have a threefold function. Firstly, it would be used to convey funeral traffic to the cemetery. Secondly, it would be used to convey rubbish and nightsoil to the Council’s rubbish and nightsoil reserve, which was located just past the cemetery, near what is now Rudds Road. And thirdly, it would serve as a passenger service. The council would operate the rubbish and nightsoil service themselves under the cover of darkness, while during the day the business of conveying passengers out to the cemetery (both dead and alive) would be leased out to private contractors (Alexander 1985:11). A substantial loan was taken out by the council to cover the costs of the trams and the building of the tramline, which ran from the Council’s yard on Oxford Terrace, via Worcester Street, Linwood Avenue, and Buckleys Road to the new cemetery and the rubbish reserve. John Brightling won the tender for laying the three miles of track, which took four months to complete, and was officially opened on April 23, 1886 (Alexander 1985:11).

It was Councillor James Bowman, chair of the Council’s Cemetery Committee, that championed the call for the city to invest in a custom-built tramway hearse to operate on the new Corporation Line. The intention was that the tramway hearse, otherwise known as the Corporation Hearse, could be leased out, evidently to funeral directors, to provide Christchurch’s less wealthy citizens with a low-cost funeral transportation option. Local coachbuilder William Moor and Son won the contract to build the special tram hearse, which was delivered to the Council yard in September 1885 at a cost of £300 (Alexander 1985:11). Capable of carrying up to four caskets at a time, it was a painted a dignified black colour, had fine wooden panelling, elliptical plate glass windows, and up top had decorative brass railings where one could fix floral tributes. When not in use, the tram hearse lived at the council yard in a purpose built storage shed.

The only known picture of the infamous tramway hearse. Image: Press 21/2/1970:5.

As well intentioned as the idea of a tramway hearse was, unfortunately, the concept of ‘funeral procession by public transport’ never ever took off and in the end, there would be no [under]takers keen on using it. To make matters worse, little money was to be made from leasing out the line to private operators for a daytime passenger service. Of the three original intended functions of the Corporation Line, the only one that proved to be of any value was the nighttime conveyance of rubbish out to the rubbish reserve. Nightsoil removal by this time was not so much of a pressing issue for the Council, as the Drainage Board’s new sewerage system was well in operation. The night-time rubbish removal trams kept operating on the line until 1902, by which time city rubbish was being dealt with by burning it in town instead of carting it away and burying it. Interested in finding out more about the Municipal Destructor? – we wrote a blog a while back about that too, check that out here.

Sitting idle in the Council yard, the reality that the tramway hearse was in fact just a white elephant soon set in. In late 1887, Councillor Gray considered the tramway hearse to be a useless asset and suggested that it might be sold or otherwise repurposed into something the city might find useful, like a dust-cart (Star, 15/11/1887:4). But the £120 cost of conversion was not considered economical, so it was decided that for now, the council best just retain it as it was, just in case the city was struck by a ‘municipal emergency’ like an epidemic (Timaru Herald, 11/1/1888: 2). Thankfully no big epidemic came, and three years later the Council decided to try to sell the hearse, hoping to recoup at the very least the £90 cost of the 5% interest on the loan raised six years earlier to help pay for its construction (Press,17/3/1891:6). Unfortunately, not a single soul was interested in buying the tram hearse. In 1892, Councillor Gray again brought up the subject of the useless ‘Corporation Hearse’ that was languishing in the council yard and how it might be repurposed or otherwise disposed of (Press, 7/6/1892: 6). Little however came of this, short of Gray having to make a formal public apology to the community, and especially to Bowman’s widow, in respect to his callous character attacking of the recently deceased former Councillor (Press, 14/6/1892:3). It appeared that the Council might possibly just be stuck with this white elephant forever. By July 1894 the Council had still not managed to get rid of it, but at least they had managed to free up some space in their storage yard. The hearse was finally relocated out to the cemetery, where here the proverbial ‘white elephant on wheels’ got a new lease on life, being fixed up by the sexton and transformed into a fowl house (Star, 31/7/1894:2). Fresh eggs anyone?

At the end of 1897, what to do about the hearse again came up for discussion in Council meeting – and whether the undercarriage of the tram hearse could be repurposed into something useful, like a water cart (Press, 7/12/1897:3). The undercarriage was inspected, but determined unsuitable for conversion, but that it would surely fetch a good price at auction (Press, 21/12/1897:6). Sadly, again no so soul came forward with an interest in buying it (Lyttelton Times, 5/2/1898:3).

For sale: one tramway hearse, mint condition, never been used. Image:  Lyttelton Times, 5/2/1898:3

Eventually, in August 1901, the tramway hearse would finally be sold at auction, for the sacrificial sum of just £3. Local MP Samuel Paull Andrews brought it and gave it a new lease of life. Andrews relocated it to his St Andrews Hill quarry, where it served as an explosives store until about 1906 or 1907. Thereafter, his sons Hastings and George built a wooden pontoon and placed the hearse on it, turning it into a houseboat (or hearseboat?) that had four bunk beds and a collapsible table. It was moored for some time off what was known as Moncks Jetty in Redcliffs, near the site of what is now the Christchurch Yacht Club, and the boys spent many summers living on it. One night, just before World War 1, a storm broke it free from its moorings and carried it across the estuary, beaching it on the New Brighton Spit. It was towed back across the estuary to Mount Pleasant and beached up near the site of the present bowling green. The pontoon had by this time begun to leak badly and often needed a great deal of pumping to stay afloat. The fate of the hearseboat after that time remains something of a mystery (Press, 24/2/1970:18). Do any of our readers know what ever became of the hearseboat? If so, we’d really love to hear from you.

The approximate last known location of the hearseboat, as far as we can tell. Image: Jamie Hearfield.

Archaeological trace remains of the original 1885 Corporation Line tram tracks still survive today within the Linwood Cemetery grounds, and these are well worth a visit to check out. Although since covered over by a thin layer of asphalt, you can still make out where the 2.2 m long timber sleepers were placed in alignment some 139 years ago, set apart at approximate 600 mm intervals. Over time the sleepers have all seemingly rotted away, leaving behind shallow depressions into which the asphalt has sunk and settled, marking their location. There is also a small section where the iron rails, nailed to the sleepers (at the standard gauge of 4ft 8 and a half inches) remain in-situ, because for whatever reason back in the day these weren’t ripped up and removed for reuse elsewhere.

Tram tracks in the cemetery. Image: Hamish Williams.

Tram tracks in the cemetery. Image: Hamish Williams

Tram tracks in the cemetery. Image: Hamish Williams

Tram rails in the cemetery, laid at the standard gauge of 4ft 8 and a half inches. And four-legged archaeologist. Image: Hamish Williams.

Although good intentioned, the fact that the Bowman’s tramway hearse was rejected by the community it had been built to serve and was never used for its intended purpose of transporting the dead – reflect strong feelings of the time that no matter how poor people are, all people deserve more respect and dignity than being transported, en masse, by means of public transport, to their final resting place (Burgess et. al 2006:65). A fine reminder that inextricably tied in with the surviving physical bits of the past that constitute an archaeological site, are the intangible, and sometimes elusive – thoughts, feelings, values, and intentions of the past peoples whom that physical stuff once related to. God bless, everybody.

Hamish Williams


Alexander, M., 1985. Rails in the Roads: the steam and horse tram era in Christchurch. Christchurch NZ: Christchurch Transport Board and Tramway Historical Society.

Bowman, I., Wilson, J., Beaumont, L., and Watson, K. 2009. Conservation Plan, Barbadoes Street Cemetery. [online]. Available at:  https://ccc.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Culture-Community/Heritage/BarbadoesStreetCemeteryFinalPlan.pdf

Burgess, R., Bowman, I., May, J., and McKenzie, D. 2006. Conservation Plan, Linwood Cemetery. [online]. Available at: https://ccc.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Services/Cemeteries/FinalConservationPlanLinwood.pdf

Lyttelton Times [online]. Available at: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/

Press. [online]. Available at: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/

Star. [online] Available eat: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/

Timaru Herald. [online] Available at: https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/













Theo Schoon- the matter of interpretation

Oh hi – if you are an avid reader of our blog a couple (ok a few) years ago one of our historians (me) went rogue writing about the artistic life of Tony Fomison – who was known as an archaeologist amongst the said historian’s archaeology peers. Amongst the tangent of found art and ramblings of an avid fan, mention was made of a very polarizing individual, Theo Schoon, who crossed paths and opinions with Fomison and pretty much everyone else. Such was the topic of Schoon that it was worthy of its own blog post, and a promise was wildly made to said colleagues. Well folks, here is the promise fulfilled; another art/archaeology crossover special – this time a controversial tale of a colonial childhood, a misaligned love of art form that resulted in cultural appropriation, and a white saviour mentality only to be topped off by a perceived bitter rejection. I know it sounds grim, but read on, these topics are relevant in our current climate and form a delicate balancing act, reflecting on our past to improve our future. For this blog post, we will be focusing on the archaeology lens of Schoon the polymath.

But before we ‘dig’ into the archaeology, here is a quick summary of the life and times of Theodorus Johannes Schoon (1915-1985) #youalwaysneedcontext. Schoon was of Dutch heritage and was born in Kebumen, Java, Dutch East Indies (which would become known as Indonesia). Schoon grew up as the child of a Dutch civil servant and, as a result, was educated alongside the children of Javanese nobility. It was within this environment that Schoon learnt classical Javanese dance. The Javanese way of life would permeate into many aspects of Schoon’s life as an adult. Schoon’s education continued in the Netherlands where he attended the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts during the 1930s (Skinner, 2000). Schoon returned to Java in 1936, establishing a studio creating photographic folios of the local environment, people and their lifestyles. In 1939 Schoon’s family immigrated to New Zealand, and Theo, aged 23, followed his family to New Zealand where they settled in Christchurch. Schoon ensconced himself into the New Zealand art world, briefly attending Canterbury University College School of Art, before a move to Wellington in 1941. If you imagine the art world that Schoon entered, you would have seen Schoon rubbing shoulders with the likes of Rita Angus, what we know as ‘The Group’ or ‘Bloomsbury South’, Gordon Walters, and Dennis Knight Turner (Skinner, 2000).

Portrait of Theo Schoon posed and wearing a Balinese costume. Image: Spencer Digby Studios, 1943.

The year 1946 brings us to our lens, a time and place of discovery for Schoon, and it is here where Schoon’s upbringing within the Javanese culture (albeit with a colonial perspective) and art education would colour his approach to and interpretation of his exposure to Māori rock shelter drawings. The Māori rock art would leave a permanent impression on Schoon, who recognised the significance of the work much earlier than many Pākehā, and for that we should acknowledge Schoon, but that of course comes with a caveat.

Cue Damien Skinner, biographer of Schoon. It is a role that Skinner is especially well equipped for; as a researcher and writer Skinner is acutely aware of the responsibility of reformatting Pākehā thinking. To quote: “I would call it decolonisation. Schoon is my problem” (Lopesi, 2019).

In Skinner’s biography, Schoon’s first encounter with Māori rock shelter art was reading an article in the Journal of Polynesian Society by historian G. B. Stevenson from 1943, which noted rock drawings observed in the Waitaki Valley, Te Waipounamu (Skinner, 2018: 94). To preface this interest, you must note Schoon’s art education in Europe, which had included the African and Pacific art that inspired the development of art movements such as Cubism. Schoon, cognisant of this link, also knew that Māori rock drawings were somewhat underrepresented (at the time) in anthropology and archaeology. New Zealand artists were preoccupied with establishing a New Zealand style of art based on regionalism and a sense of local identity that still had roots in Europe’s art movements (Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 2012).

Schoon travelled to South Canterbury to see the drawings for himself. As luck would have it, earlier in 1945 Roger Duff, the ethnologist at Canterbury Museum, had very recently surveyed the rock drawings in the area and concluded that the drawings he had observed required accurate protection and recording in the form of site photos, drawings, and tracings (Skinner, 2018: 94-98). Enter the ubiquitous Theo Schoon with his uncanny knack (here I quote Anthony Bryt from 2019, call him a ‘Zelig’ if you like) to suddenly appear at the scene of an opportunity (Byrt, 2019).  As a result, Schoon was employed on a project where he travelled to Gordon’s Valley, South Canterbury, with Duff and recorded the drawings. The resulting copies were in oil on canvas boards. Duff was impressed with the faithfulness and accuracy of the works. This initial work acted as a segue to recording rock art in the South Canterbury region. Funding for eight weeks was provided by the Department of Internal Affairs and was endorsed by no other than William Vance, the local department officer and author of High Endeavour (ok I sense another blog post), and the works were to be supervised by the Canterbury Museum.

What could go wrong? Māori rock art around Aotearoa was being accurately recorded and catalogued, and the project was fine until some of the rock drawings got “schooned”… WTF? Schooned (McCulloch, 1985)? Yeah, that was me too… read on dear reader for the term “schooned” exists within a context… although I could coin the phrase “schooned” for use in many a situation. So, to provide you with the said “context” I will cast you back to Duff from the Canterbury Museum mentioning in his initial survey that the drawings required protection measures…

Imagine heraldic triumphant noises and in rides from stage left, Theo Schoon and his trusty box of crayons, ooh and some red raddle, why not…to retouch the rock drawings complete with a flourish of his signature… you may now facepalm. It is here that we can concede that the state of the drawings was subject to agricultural and environmental conditions (Skinner, 2018: 130). You could argue that retouching the work was an act of ‘preservation’, not unlike the processes in place by museums and art galleries maintaining the condition of their artefacts. The difference was a lone restorer (yes, I know you are thinking of the Ecce Homo fresco), not aware of his material impacts on the original drawing, and not to mention the most important factor, lack of consultation with local iwi and professionals. By 1946, Duff was overseeing Schoon’s work in South Canterbury and Duff’s field books record accounts of Schoon’s retouching. This was referred to in Fomison’s report to the New Zealand Archaeological Association regarding the topic of ‘Theo Schoon and the Retouching of Rock Art’ (Fomison, 1987). To be honest, the retouching was something that Duff also struggled with if his field books are anything to go by. In October 1946 Duff notes that in a ‘judicious restoration’ Schoon had brought to light a ‘previously scarcely recognisable figure’ of Gould’s Taniwha cave. By March 1947, Duff had not been in the field with Schoon for four months, and his take on Schoon’s flagrant ‘schooning’ had time for reflection. Fomision’s report recounts Duff asking Schoon not to restore any figures in the future. Fomison went on to say that the retouching of the work in ‘grease crayon’ had so far proved ‘irremovable’. The crayons used were black and a red raddle (for marking sheep) – despite the fact the rock art varied from a ‘near-purple’ through to the ochre ‘yellow-orange’ (Fomison, 1987; Skinner, 2018: 102). Schoon also did not attempt to cover mark for mark (well here you could argue ICOMOS principles that you can delineate between the original work and the assumed restoration…? No, Nah, didn’t think so). Fomison’s report recounted that the retouching work was done prior to the photography that was also used to record the drawings (Fomison, 1987).

“Birdmen,” a recreation of Maori rock drawings in Frenchman’s Gully, Pareora, by Theo Schoon, at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery. Image: Press, 25/9/1985: 26.

It’s very conflicting stuff, right? Probably why it’s taken so long to write this blog (and my tendency to overthink things). Fomison’s report culminated in a description of a recorded interview of Schoon before he returned to Sydney for his final year . Fomison quipped:

‘In a matter of days, film footage and sound tapes had been used up; and Theo had picked enough fights to confirm his decision to return to Sydney, which he did.’

Schoon’s approach to recording and restoration was forthright, much like his approach to life in general. Schoon, I guess, held at one point a great certainty in himself and not much self-awareness, which I think enabled a type of clarity in his observations, especially that of Māori archaeology and art and its much-needed inclusion in the New Zealand narrative.’ (Skinner, 2018: 297).

By the 1960s, Fomison had become part of the emergence of recorded archaeology in New Zealand, surpassing Schoon’s efforts on a far more scientific level, with one very pointed observation that most of the Māori rock art was found not in caves but in undercuts/ledges in the bases of limestone bluffs (Skinner, 2018: 297). Schoon was given the chance to respond to Fomison’s findings and opinions on his preservation work, which was published in the New Zealand Archaeological Association Newsletter (it was edited as I guess you could imagine). Schoon acknowledged that the retouching was undesirable, but wetting the works did nothing to bring out the deteriorated drawings for the photography. Thus, Schoon stated that he resorted to retouching. Schoon was taking on a task that no one else was prepared to do, and he was willing to stand accused of vandalism if it meant some sort of record was preserved… #rescuearchaeology anyone (Skinner, 2018: 300)? It’s here I defer to one of my colleagues, the superstar archaeologist and inadvertent ‘found art’ artist T. Wadsworth, to explain that Schoon’s vandalism was also scientific:

“So we now have methods of analysing pigments and dating rock art based on charcoal content, but a recent study (O’Regan et al. 2019. Dating South Island Māori rock art: Pigment and pitfalls) found that Schoon’s retouching has resulted in false results and compromised such analysis. We also have new digital technology and better methods to record and identify faded rock art, which has also been complicated by Schoon’s retouching (pers comm. Wadsworth, 2023).”

Wadsworth’s morning teas have been exclusively photographed by A.E. Gibson as found art and have featured for the past three years on Instagram. Image: Gibson, 2021.

I guess the report and his rebuttal cemented Schoon’s malaise (well bitterness as the story goes) of New Zealand entirely, one of the final nails if you will (Skinner, 2018: 297). This negative perception of New Zealand blindsided his insight into Māori art. Schoon thought it should be preserved in time, and as such, his aggrieved conclusion of New Zealand did not account (or did he just not live long enough?) for Māori art to evolve into the current narrative, now firmly translated into New Zealand modernism. Sydney, Australia, was his next and final stop with his 34 boxes of possessions (Skinner, 2018: 300). It has to be noted that while Fomison’s account of Schoon’s interview in his report was articulate and focused on Schoon there was a typical artistic melee around the production of the audio and film. An ad hoc team assembled for the event at Fomison’s house, as Schoon’s accommodation was too small, but still, it was not a comfortable environment for the now-infirmed Schoon. In attendance were art historian Michael Dunn, John Edgar (stone carver) and David Simmons (anthropologist), all friends of Schoon and who managed to steer the conversation to bring out an informed and approachable flow. By Skinner’s account, this was interjected by a drunk foetal positioned Fomison and fellow (likely intoxicated) artist Allen Maddox playing stuck riffs of Jimi Hendrix records (Skinner, 2018: 300).

In Anthony Byrt’s review “Book of the Week: That total asshole Theo Schoon” of Skinner’s book as ‘a tortured biography’, Bryt’s opinion of Schoon is described as being ‘hinged on whether he’s master or mulch’ (Bryt, 2019).  I mentioned this in my last blog post in a more measured account… In Skinner’s biography, Schoon’s achievements in championing others are highlighted as are his drawing attention to traditional Māori art forms (rock drawing and gourd carving) for a ‘new New Zealand art’. Byrt sees Skinner’s struggle to navigate all the positives that Schoon’s perceptive eye was capable of uncovering only for Schoon to obfuscate it all with his infuriating personality. Ok yes, as Bryt says, he could be a right dick sometimes. Can I say that? Too late.

All this confusion around Schoon, and his misaligned, but nonetheless important contribution to archaeology, does raise questions about our own approach. Schoon is the unravelling thread. We too will no doubt in the future will be called to account around best practices in archaeology. It is that evaluation of our past to improve our future. It is part of being a historian, to be the recall in the current realm – reminding us we need balanced research so that we don’t repeat ourselves but also admit to our own ‘schooning’. Simply put, try not to make dick moves; you’ve got the benefit of hindsight.

The Artistic Historian


Byrt, Anthony, 2019. Book of the Week: That total asshole Theo Schoon. The Spinoff [online] Available at: <https://thespinoff.co.nz/books/28-02-2019/book-of-the-week-that-total-asshole-theo-schoon> Accessed June 2023.

Fomison, Tony, 1987. Theo Schoon and the retouching of rock art. Archaeology in New Zealand 30: 158-160. [online] Available at:  https://nzarchaeology.org/download/theo-schoon-and-the-retouching-of-rock-art. Accessed February 2023.

ICOMOS New Zealand Te Mana o Nga Pouwhenua o Te Ao, 2010. The ICOMOS New Zealand Charter, Te Pumanawa o ICOMOS o Aotearoa Hei Tiaki I Nga Taonga Whenua Heke Iho o Nehe. [online] <https://icomos.org.nz/charters/> Accessed June 2023.

Jones, Sam, 2018. How ‘Monkey Christ’ brought new life to a quiet Spanish town. The Guardian [online] Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/28/how-monkey-christ-brought-new-life-to-a-quiet-spanish-town> Accessed June 2023.

Lopesi, Lana, 2019. The debate over Theo Schoon, who built his career on the backs of Māori artists. The Spinoff [online] Available at: <https://thespinoff.co.nz/art/08-08-2019/the-debate-over-theo-schoon-who-built-his-career-on-the-backs-of-maori-artists> Accessed June 2023.

McCulloch, Beverley, 1985. Maori Rock Drawings: A Matter of Interpretation. Robert McDougall Art Gallery and Canterbury Museum. [online] Available at: < https://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/media/uploads/2010_08/TheoSchoon.pdf> Accessed June 2023.

Ministry of Culture and Heritage, 2012. A new New Zealand art. [online] Available at: <https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/nz-painting-history/a-new-new-zealand-art> Accessed February 2023.

Press, 1861-1979. [online] Available at: <https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/> Accessed June 2023.

Skinner, Damian, 2000. ‘Schoon, Theodorus Johannes’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 2000. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. [online] Available at:  <https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/5s4/schoon-theodorus-johannes> Accessed February 2023.

Skinner, Damian, 2018. Theo Schoon. A Biography. Auckland: Massey University Press.

Spencer Digby Studios, 1943. Portrait of Theo Schoon posed and wearing a Balinese costume. [online] Available at:  Te Papa Collections Online < https://digitalnz.org/records/176921/tn-theo-schoon> Accessed June 2023.