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

 

Old Government Buildings

Located across from Parliament Buildings on Lambton Quay is the Government Buildings Historic Reserve, more commonly known as Old Government Buildings.

Old Government Buildings

Old Government Buildings


Victoria University of Wellington Law School - Government Buildings Historic Reserve

Victoria University of Wellington Law School – Government Buildings Historic Reserve

This four floor, wooden Neo-Renaissance style building was built between 1875 and 1876, and is the largest wooden building in New Zealand. In fact, until 1998, it was the second largest wooden building in the world, behind Tōdai-ji, the Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan.

The building was designed to house the public service sector. Also between 1876 and 1921, it was home to the Government cabinet, which regularly met in the Cabinet Room on the first floor. The Cabinet Room is open to the public to view when not occupied.

The cabinet room

The cabinet room

By 1990, the last of the public service departments had moved out ending 114 years of government service at number 15 Lambton Quay.

The condition of the building had deteriorated by the 1990s and in 1994 the Department of Conservation began a 2 year restoration project. In 1996, following the restoration, Victoria University of Wellington’s Law School moved in.

Today visitors may visit the grounds, marvel at the rich golden-honey kauri clad interiors, stunning staircases, and cast iron fireplaces, and explore the historical displays on the ground floor, and the Cabinet room on the first floor.

The building is open 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Private areas leased to the University are marked with no public access signage.

The kauri clad interiors and staircases

The kauri clad interiors and staircases


A historical display depicting an 1880s Government Buildings messenger returning ledgers to the Vault

A display depicts an 1880s Government Buildings messenger returning ledgers to the Vault

Red Fence Heritage Walk

On Sunday I set out to walk Port of Auckland’s Red Fence Heritage Walk. Click here to download a map of the walk.

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The walk starts outside the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum. Note the signpost is on the gate of the old entrance to the Museum. There are 15 stops along the 2.4 km walk and each stop is marked with a numbered information board with a historic photograph and text relating to that point.

The walk is signposted with information boards

The walk is signposted with information boards

The second stop outside the Maritime Museum is the War Memorial Beacon. This monument was originally erected in 1915 by the Auckland Harbour Board and listed the names of staff that served during the First World War.  Sometime during the late 1960s – early 70s the memorial was taken down. In 1999 parts of the memorial were found in Shed 51 on Bledisloe Wharf. An anonymous benefactor, ‘a grateful refugee from Nazi Germany’, offered to fund the restoration and the War Memorial Beacon was re-erected on its current site in 2000.

War Memorial Beacon

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War Memorial Beacon

The third stop is Princes Wharf, which was built between 1921 and 1924. The wharf is named after Edward, Prince of Wales who visited Auckland in 1920. Princes Wharf was originally a commercial wharf but now is the site of a cruise ship terminal, restaurants, apartments and office space, a car park building and the Hilton hotel. It is also the site of the Auckland Princes Wharf i-SITE Visitor Information Centre.

Princes Wharf

Princes Wharf

The cast iron lamp stands were erected in 1923, Princes Wharf.

The cast iron lamp stands were erected in 1923, Princes Wharf.

The Ferry Building is the fourth stop. It was built in Edwardian Baroque style between 1909 and 1912 and resorted in 1988.

View towards Ferry Building from Princes Wharf

View towards Ferry Building from Princes Wharf

Stops 5 through 7 relate to Queens Wharf. Queens Wharf (stop 6) was built between 1906 and 1913. The Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence (stop 5) were erected between 1913 and 1923.

Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence

Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence

Shed 10 (stop 7) is the only remaining shed of the Queens Wharf Sheds. The two-storied cargo shed is 94.5 metres in length. During the Second World War it was used as a facility to process departing soldiers. Between 2012 and 2013 Shed 10 was refurbished and is now used as a cruise ship terminal and events centre.

Shed 10

Shed 10

Next to Shed 10 on the western edge of Queens Wharf is The Cloud. This 178.5 metre long structure was built as a fanzone site for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and has been used for various events since then.

The Cloud

The Cloud

Between Queens Wharf and Captain Cook Wharf is the Admiralty Steps (stop 8). This is where the tug boats now berth but the admiralty steps were used by royal visitors arriving on British naval ships.

Stop 9 is Captain Cook Wharf and Marsden Wharf. Captain Cook Wharf, built 1922, is named after Captain James Cook, who made the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand between 1769 and 1770. Marsden Wharf, built 1909-1911 is named after The Reverend Samuel Marsden who was an avid explorer of New Zealand.

Red Fence Heritage Walk

Red Fence Heritage Walk

Stop 10 is Britomart Point Rock or Te Kawau’s Rock. This marks the point where the British flag was raised in Auckland’s founding ceremony on September 18, 1840.

The Rainbow Warrior Memorial is stop 11. This mosaic memorial commemorates the bombing and sinking of Greenpeace’s anti-nuclear protest vessel the Rainbow Warrior by agents of the French Government at Marsden Wharf on July 10, 1985.

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Rainbow Warrior memorial

Rainbow Warrior memorial

Stop 12 is Bledisloe Wharf. The original wharf that was built between 1937 and 1948 was named after Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe who was the fourth Governor-General of New Zealand. The wharf was upgraded in 1985 and is now a container terminal.

Jellicoe Wharf and Freyberg Wharf are stop 13. Jellicoe Wharf was built in 1952 and is named after Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe, Governor-General from 1920-1924. Freyberg Wharf is named after Bernard Freyberg, Governor-General from 1946 to 1952 and who was Commander in Chief of New Zealand forces during World War II.

Stop 14 is Fergusson Container Terminal. This container cargo terminal opened in 1971 and is named after the Fergusson family, who served as Governors of New Zealand from 1873 to 1967.

Container terminal

Container terminal

The final stop is the Ports of Auckland Building. This building was previously the engineering building for Tasman Empire Airways Limited’s (TEAL) flying boats.

You can finish the walk by checking out the 400-metre-long public walkway, which runs along the eastern edge of Fergusson container terminal. Access to walkway is from Solent Street next to the Heliport. This walkway provides amazing views of the harbour and container terminal operations.  Take time to watch the cranes wizz around and load containers onto trucks.

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Ports of Auckland Public Walkway

Ports of Auckland Public Walkway

Birkenhead

Birkenhead is a suburb of Auckland, located on the north shore of the Waitemata Harbour.

To travel to Birkenhead, I took the 9:10am service, which is the first weekend morning service departing Downtown. The ferry service is operated by Fullers and departs from Pier 1. Adults are $5.50 one way, $10.10 return. Child $3.30 one way, $5.20 return. Discount fares are available for AT Hop cardholders.

Fullers' ferry boarding at Pier 1, Downtown Ferry Terminal

Fullers’ ferry boarding at Pier 1, Downtown Ferry Terminal

It is approximately a 15 minute ferry ride to Birkenhead Wharf via Bayswater and Northcote Point.

The ferry travels underneath the Auckland Harbour Bridge to reach Northcote Point and Birkenhead. The Harbour Bridge is 1,020 metres long, rising 43.27 metres above high water level. I had never travelled under the harbour bridge before, which was one of the reasons for choosing ferry travel.

The ferry travels underneath the Auckland Harbour Bridge

The ferry travels underneath the Auckland Harbour Bridge

The ferry docks at Birkenhead Wharf at the bottom of Hinemoa Street. The original entry point to Birkenhead Village was via ferry, making Hinemoa Street one of the oldest streets in Birkenhead. It is just under a 2km walk past many historic buildings from the Wharf to Birkenhead Village.

Birkenhead Wharf

Birkenhead Wharf

A few notable points on this heritage walk:

On the corner of Hinemoa St and Rugby St stands the Marinovic Building (94 – 98 Hinemoa St). This two storey masonry building is in Edwardian style, and was constructed in 1912. The old Hellaby butcher’s occupied this site until 1911 when it moved to the rear of the building. The old butcher’s shop is now Ravenhill café. I tried the raspberry and frangipani slab ($4.50) from their cabinet.

Ravenhill cafe, a former butchery. Building constructed 1912

Ravenhill cafe, a former butchery. Building constructed 1912

At 128-130 Hinemoa St is Gumdiggers Restaurant, which is open for dinner from 6:30pm Tuesday to Saturday. The building that was built in 1910 was originally a drapers shop.

Gumdiggers Restaurant, originally a drapers shop. Building built 1910

Gumdiggers Restaurant, originally a drapers shop. Built 1910

Next to each other at 243 and 245 Hinemoa St are the Royal Thai Restaurant and Bambina (a baby clothing and toy store).  243 Hinemoa Street was the Samuel Roberts General Store established in 1910 and 245 Hinemoa St was Henry Hawkins Grocer established in 1927.

At Highbury Corner stands the Oborn Buildings, which was originally named Payne’s Building, and was constructed between 1927 and 1928 for local businessman and council member W. H. Payne.

Oborn Building, formerly Payne Buildings, built 1927-8

Oborn Building, formerly Payne Buildings, built 1927-8

On the corner of Hinemoa Street and Rawene Road is Nell Fisher Reserve.  Situated in the reserve is the Birkenhead War Memorial monument, which was unveiled in 1927 to remember the soldiers killed in WWI.

Birkenhead War Memorial, Nell Fisher Reserve

Birkenhead War Memorial, Nell Fisher Reserve

Located behind the War Memorial is the Birkenhead Public Library. It is worth going up to the mezzanine floor for a moments rest and to admire the views.

Views of Auckland city from mezzanine floor, Birkenhead Public Library

Views of Auckland city from mezzanine floor, Birkenhead Public Library

It is here that the Sugar Workers Walk begins. Click here to download a map.

After visiting the library and Nell Fisher Reserve make your way along Rawene Road. There are several residential houses here with historical significance. At number 51 is the former home of Bert Stanley, who was the mayor of Birkenhead from 1968-77.

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51 Rawene Rd. Former home of Bert Stanley, Birkenhead mayor, 1968-77

There are several sugar workers cottages on Rawene Road. 35 cottages were built in the 1880s in an area at the bottom of Colonial Road. In 1905 these cottages were sold for 5 pounds each and relocated to sunnier sites. 44 Rawene Road is an example of one of these original cottages.

44 Rawene Road, early sugar workers cottage

44 Rawene Rd, early sugar workers cottage

At the end of Rawene Road is an entrance to Chelsea Estate Heritage Park. Follow the track down and where the track forks turn to the right and follow the track across the dam to the Sugar Refinery grounds.

This pink and blue Victorian factory was built from 1883-84 using one million handmade bricks made from clay from the surrounding hills.

Chelsea Sugar Refinery

Chelsea Sugar Refinery

Take a moment to watch the ducks frolic in the large duck pond before crossing the bridge and heading up the hill to four historic Worker’s cottages. These two storied brick cottages were constructed in 1910 and are now private residences.

Four historic Workers' cottages. Constructed 1910

Four historic Workers’ cottages. Constructed 1910

In the large grassy area stands the ‘Ships Grab’ sculpture, which was donated by New Zealand Sugar Company when it sold 37 hectares of its property to the Council in 2008. This property became the Chelsea Estate Heritage Park.

'Ships Grab' sculpture

‘Ships Grab’ sculpture

This area is where the original 35 cottages were located. Opposite the Ships Grab sculpture is a walking track that leads up to Huka Road. Huka is the Māori word for sugar. Alternatively you can walk up past the four historic Worker’s cottages and walk up Colonial Road, just watch out for the sugar trucks.

If you walk up Huka Road, like Rawene Road, there are many cottages of historical significance to the sugar refinery. Number 44 is two sugar workers cottages, which have been joined together. Numbers 22 and 25 are Victorian bay villas and numbers 29 and 33 are Edwardian style houses. These five properties are more examples of the homes that sugar factory workers would have lived in.

45 Huka Road, two sugar workers cottages joined together

45 Huka Road, two sugar workers cottages joined together

Both Huka Road and Colonial Road come out at Mokoia Road. Turn right and walk along Mokoia. There are many cafés located along this strip. At 14-24 Mokoia Road is Highbury Buildings. This retail building was constructed in 1934.

Next I walked back down Hinemoa St and entered Le Roys bush walk. I walked this native bush walk through kauri, nikau palms, totara, past mangroves and out to Little Shoal Bay for more views of the city. I returned from Little Shoal Bay to the exit on Onewa Road (between 210 and 12 Onewa Road).

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Le Roys bush walk

Le Roys Bush walk

Little Shoal Bay

Little Shoal Bay

At the corner of Birkenhead Ave and Onewa Road is Zion Hill Church. It was first church to be built in Birkenhead in 1880. This church was replaced by a new church building around 1886.

Birkenhead Transport has bus services from Onewa Road into and from the city. There are also over 900 free carparks located throughout Birkenhead Village so it is an easy place to visit.