Alberton

Alberton is a historic house located in the Auckland suburb of Mt Albert.

Alberton

Alberton

The historic house is located at 100 Mt Albert Road. Access is from Kerr-Taylor Avenue. It is open Wednesday to Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm. Adults are $10. Accompanied children are free.

If you plan on visiting Highwic and Ewelme Cottage as well I would recommend purchasing the Historic Auckland Passport for $18, which allows you one time entry to all three historic properties and is valid for a year from purchase.

Allan Kerr Taylor was born in India in 1832. His father was Lieutenant Colonel William Taylor of the 39th Madras Native Infantry. Kerr Taylor was educated at Royal High School in Edinburgh, Scotland. At age 15 he followed his brothers and immigrated to New Zealand.

At age 16 he brought 270 acres at Mount Albert. He subsequently added two adjoining blocks of 232 acres and 120 acres. He named property after the nearby volcanic cone Mt Albert.

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In 1850 he went to California and 1860 went to England where he married Martha Meredith in 1862. Martha and Alan had two children, both unfortunately died in infancy. Martha herself died in 1864, aged 25.

The following year Allan married Sophia Louisa Davis. She had ten children with Allan, four boys and six girls, two of whom died as children.

The house at Alberton was built as a farmhouse 1863. On the ground floor there was the entrance hall, drawing room, kitchen, dining room, and a master bedroom. Upstairs there were five bedrooms.

In 1872 the house was extended and the verandahs, balconies and towers with their Indian inspired ogee roofs were added.

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After Alan’s death his second wife Sophia sold off some of the land to pay debts. At the time of her death in 1930, 128 acres remained. Three of Sophia’s daughters Winifred, Muriel and Mildred remained at Alberton and continued to subdivide the property over the years as a source of income. At the time of Muriel’s death in 1972 the property was only 2 acres.

Muriel bequeathed the property to New Zealand Historic Places Trust and Alberton opened as a house museum in 1973.

The ground floor of the house has the dining room, kitchen, pantry, study with a gun cupboard, drawing room and ballroom. Alberton was hosting a 50th birthday party in the ballroom on the date I visited. They hire out rooms and the gardens for weddings and other private functions.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Study

Study

Drawing room

Drawing room

Ballroom - set up for private function

Ballroom – set up for private function

Outside near the kitchen is a wash house with a well.

On the second floor visitors can explore the various bedrooms, dressing room, sewing room and library. Brave visitors can climb the steep stairs (a ladder almost) to the servants quarters. Just be careful climbing back down!

Main bedroom

Main bedroom

Guest bedroom

Guest bedroom

Library

Library

Sewing room

Sewing room

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Ewelme Cottage

Ewelme Cottage is a historic house in the Auckland suburb of Parnell.

Ewelme Cottage

Ewelme Cottage

This historic house museum located at 14 Ayr Street is only open on Sundays from 10.30am – 4.30pm. Adults are $8.50, accompanied children are free.

If you plan on visiting Alberton and Highwic as well I would recommend purchasing the Historic Auckland Passport for $18, which allows you one time entry to all three historic properties and is valid for a year from purchase.

Also while visiting Ewelme, you may wish to visit Kinder House (open Wednesday to Sunday from Noon to 3pm, entry by donation), which is at no. 2 Ayr St. Although when I visited Ewelme, Kinder House was closed for a private function.

The kauri cottage was built between 1863-64 for Reverend Vicesimus Lush, his wife Blanche and their six children. Around 18 years later the house was extended. The house remained in the Lush family until 1968.

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Since 1969, Ewelme has been preserved as a house museum by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and it has been kept as it was when the last occupants left.

The Lush family were avid readers and there are over 900 books shelved around the house. There are some rare books dating from 1600s. When climbing the stairs to the second floor (an attic really) look at all the spaces that have been used to store books.

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Dining room

Study

Study

Attic bedroom

Attic bedroom

There is wheelchair access to the ground floor. The top floor is accessible by some very steep and narrow stairs with very low ceilings.

For film buffs the drawing room, veranda and garden were used in Jane Campion’s 1993 Oscar winning film The Piano.

 

 

Highwic

Highwic is a historic home in the Auckland suburb of Epsom / Newmarket.

Highwic

Highwic

The property is at 40 Gillies Avenue but the recommended entrance is off Mortimer Pass. Onsite parking is available. Alternatively take a train to Newmarket Train Station or a bus to 277 Broadway and walk up Mortimer Pass (first street on the right after the shopping mall, Westfield 277 Newmarket).

Entrance to Highwic off Mortimar Road

Entrance to Highwic off Mortimer Pass

Highwic is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Adults are $10, accompanied children are free. If you plan on visiting Alberton and Ewelme Cottage as well I would recommend purchasing the Historic Auckland Passport for $18, which allows you one time entry to all three historic properties and is valid for a year from purchase.

In 1862, Alfred Buckland purchased 5 acres (2 hectares) of land. The house is built in Carpenter Gothic and was based on country homes on the East Coast of the United States.

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House is built in Carpenter Gothic style

Mr Buckland and his first wife Eliza immigrated to New Zealand from England in 1850. His older brother William had moved here in 1841. Together Alfred and Eliza had 10 children before Mrs Buckland’s passing of pneumonia in 1866. The following year Mr Buckland married Matilda Frodsham, who had been his wife’s companion and home help. Matilda and Alfred had 11 children together. In total Alfred Buckland had 21 children, fourteen daughters and seven sons.

Bucklands Beach in the eastern suburb of Howick is named after Alfred Buckland as he owned a large farm there.

During the 1870s and 1880s the house was enlarged as the family grew. Descendants on the Buckland family lived in the house until 1978 (that is 116 years the Buckland family occupied the property). The property was jointly purchased by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the Auckland City Council. Highwic opened as a historic house museum in 1981.

The house has seven bedrooms, a ballroom, drawing room, sitting room, dining room, kitchen, scullery, outdoor courtyard with meat and dairy storerooms.

Dining room

Dining room

Drawing room

Drawing room

Maid and Cook's Bedroom

Maid and Cook’s Bedroom

The Boy's Barracks

The Boy’s Barracks

The guest bedroom on the side of the house has been converted into the sales and information desk. They sell a wide selection of memorabilia relating to Highwic and range of authentic reproduction children’s toys.

The picturesque grounds include a billiards house separate from the main house, stables, a fern house, a hedged circular garden and a croquet and tennis court lawn.

Most of Highwic is hidden above the bustling and busy shopping centre of Newmarket by tall trees and high hedges adding to it’s ‘hidden’ old world charm.

Billards House

Billiards House

Fernery

Fernery

Circular hedged garden

Circular hedged garden

Hedged garden

Hedged garden

Katherine Mansfield Birthplace

Katherine Mansfield Birthplace is the childhood home of celebrated New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield.

Katherine Mansfield Birthplace

Katherine Mansfield Birthplace

Mansfield was born on 14th October 1888 at number 11 (now number 25) Tinakori Road, Thorndon, Wellington. The house was built by Mansfield’s father Harold Beauchamp and three generations of the Beauchamp family lived there from 1888 to 1893.

The house is open six days a week from 10am – 4pm. It is closed Monday, Christmas Day and Good Friday. Adults are $8, Seniors $6, Students and Community Services cardholders $3. Children are free.

Number 25 Tinakori Road, Thorndon

Number 25 Tinakori Road, Thorndon

In the foyer to the house there is a gift shop that sells a range of Mansfield’s works and biographies on Mansfield, as well as a small number of miscellanous items such as postcards, tea towels, and t-shirts.

The self guided tour begins here in the foyer. A booklet is supplied with background information on the various rooms in the house and the garden. Visitors are requested to return the guide book when finished.

Guests can explore the drawing room, dining room, servery, kitchen/family dining room and scullery on the ground floor and the grandmother’s bedroom, children’s bedroom and master bedroom upstairs. The house has been restored with furniture and furnishings of the period making the house an excellent example of what New Zealand home life would have been like in the late 19th century.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Bedroom

Bedroom

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The master bedroom has been converted into an exhibition room. The walls are lined with family photographs and a 50 minute documentary ‘A Portrait of Katherine Mansfield: A Woman and a Writer’ is screened.

The garden has been replanted with flowers and plants that were available in Wellington during 1880s and 1890s. The house and garden are available to hire as a venue for weddings, birthdays, garden parties and other special occasions.

Garden

Garden