Wilton Farmhouse and Outbuildings

116 Wilton Road, Wilton, Wellington

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List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1390 Date Entered 25th August 2006


Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the buildings, including the Farmhouse, the Milking Shed (Former) and Dairy (Former); their fittings and fixtures; the cobblestone yard; and the land comprised in CT WN9A/315.

City/District Council

Wellington City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 2 DP 32463 (CT WN9A/315), Wellington Land District


Wilton's Farmhouse is located at 116 Wilton Road, Wilton, Wellington. The farmhouse was the residence of Job and Ellen Wilton and their family, after whom the Wellington suburb is now named. In 1860 Job Wilton purchased a 108-acre (44 hectare) property in the Kaiwharawhara Valley, and constructed a small cottage to house his new family. The original cottage, dating from the 1860s, formed the foundation of the present house, which was greatly extended in 1883, when a second storey and a large wing was added. The farmhouse is historically important as a remnant of the early European settlement of the Wellington region and a largely intact example of a settler farmstead complete with milking shed and dairy. The close association of the farmhouse with the establishment of the suburb and Otari-Wilton Bush is well known to the residents of Wilton suburb, making the house of special importance to the local community. The Wilton family reserved seventeen acres of native bush that formed part of the now much larger Otari-Wilton's Bush. The original farm has also laid the foundation of the suburb of Wilton through subdivision in 1902-1906.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Historical Significance

The Wilton Farmhouse has historical significance for its association with the suburb of Wilton. Although the wider Wadestown area may have had a population of up to 200 working people in 1840s, by the 1860s sources indicate that there was a relatively low population in the area now known as Wilton. One source recorded that there were just five houses in the area. The Wilton family farm dates from the early 1860s. The farmhouse and outhouses of this early farm are still extant making them the most complete set of early colonial farm buildings in the Wellington city area. Over the past 140 years, the Wilton Farmhouse has witnessed the development of and in time bestowed its name to, what has changed from a rural farming area to a suburb of Wellington.

Technological Significance

The farmhouse reflects the simplicity, versatility and durability of early wooden framed and weather-board colonial architecture. The original 1861 two-bedroom cottage was enlarged in 1883, leaving the extant totara and rimu timber two-storey, six-bedroom house. The original cottage and outhouses were constructed using the common colonial technique of using the roughly hewn pit sawn timber cleared for the new farm. Of the farm the farmhouse, milk-shed/stables and washhouse/dairy/workshop remain. Small details of everyday farm life survive, for example the milking shed still retains a wooden plaque with the names of the cows and dates of milking in 1896. Also, the cobblestone yard of the milk-shed/stables constructed by the original Wilton family exists today.

Social Significance

The Wilton Farmhouse has social significance for its association with members of the Wilton family, who were early Pakeha farmers in the Kaiwharawhara valley. The Wilton family constructed and resided in the farmhouse from the early 1860s through to 1915. The connection of the farmhouse to the Wilton family has continued through several owners of the Curtis (and Waugh) family. By 1878 the Wilton family owned and farmed a considerable portion of the valley from what is now the Karori cemetery to Wadestown. The Wilton family contributed to the creation of one of the largest reserves of native bush in New Zealand, Otari-Wilton's Bush, through the unusual practice for the time of preserving 17 acres of native bush on their farm. The farm also provided the foundation of the suburb appropriately named Wilton in 1949.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

The farmhouse and outhouses represent surviving remnants of the early development of pastoralism in the Wellington region. In 1860 Job Wilton purchased land in the Kaiwharawhara valley, which he and his family expanded and developed into a successful (mixed) farm through the nineteenth century.

(e)The community association with, or public esteem for, the place:

As the home of Job and Ellen Wilton (nee Curtis), the farmhouse is of importance to the residents of the area as the family after whom the suburb of Wilton was named in 1949.The continued local esteem for the farmhouse is illustrated through the numerous newspaper articles published over the years on the Wilton family and the establishment of Wilton. Furthermore, the Wilton and wider Wadestown community has taken an active interest in preserving the character of the area formed by Otari-Wilton's Bush and the farmhouse. Students at the local Otari School are encouraged to visit the farmhouse to learn more about their local history, for example, and to explore the lifestyles of early settler families in the Wellington region, while the Otari-Wilton Environment and Heritage Protection Society actively promotes heritage values in the suburb, and in the past has organised working parties to clear rubbish off WCC land adjacent to the farmhouse.

(i) The importance of the identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement:

The Wilton and Curtis families both arrived in New Zealand in the early 1840s. The Wilton family farm dates from the early 1860s. The farmhouse and outhouses of this early farm are still extant making them the most complete set of early colonial farm buildings in the Wellington city area.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Wilton, Job

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Wilton Farmhouse is located on Wilton Road in the suburb of Wilton, Wellington. The farmhouse is situated at the centre of a large sloping section set in lush bush, which largely obscures the public view from Wilton Road. The farmhouse is orientated to the northwest to view the valley, Otari-Wilton's bush and the high ridges beyond. The farmhouse is located next to other residential dwellings and the Wilton Bowling Club greens. The milk shed and dairy are located on the eastern side of the property and house. The property forms part of a comfortable transition from the relatively dense suburban Wilton and the neighbouring Otari-Wilton's Bush.

Wilton Farmhouse is a large two-storey, five-bedroom house with a small lean-to washhouse, which was constructed at the rear of the building in 1950. The front elevation consists of the verandah and the 'tip' or end of the 'L' shape forming a bay to complete the façade. The verandah columns feature ornate post cap mouldings. The main entrance is located at the right end of the verandah with a single window to the doors left. The bay consists of two large centrally located windows, one on each floor. The first floor above the roof of the verandah consists of three equally spaced windows. The roof (including verandah roof) is clad in corrugated iron with the rest in timber weatherboards.

The outhouses consist of a 40-foot long rectangular milking shed (later used as a stable), with a hay-chaff storage loft above the cow-bails. The shed is clad in rough-sawn weatherboard and corrugated iron. The front façade (north-east elevation) is open to the interior, providing the original access for the cows. A cobblestone yard next to the milk-shed is still extant. Nearby is rectangular yet smaller washhouse/dairy/workshop which is divided into three sections, a washhouse with copper and kauri tubs, dairy for processing milk and workshop added on as a lean-to on the down hill side of the dairy.

The front door to the Wilton Farmhouse leads to a central hall, which gives access to the main rooms of the ground floor. On entering the hall through the main entrance, the left hand door leads to the lounge, the right to the living room, with second on the right to the master bedroom. The end of the hall ends with the bathroom door. The lounge gives access to the kitchen and the washhouse. The rear of the house formed by the bathroom and kitchen are the remnant of the original two-bedroom cottage.

The first floor consists of six bedrooms. The stairs lead to a central hall that branches to the right, with the bedrooms on either side.

The interior still contains original rimu and kauri panelled doors, rimu profiled moldings and well made heart rimu stairs. The original locks, ceramic knobs and fingerplates also remain. One original cast iron fireplace also is extant.

Notable Features

A notable feature that remains of the original 1860s farm buildings is the large cobblestone yard adjacent to the cowshed. It was made from large rocks hauled up from the Kaiwharawhara stream. Also, the Milking-shed still contains a wooden plaque with the names of and dates of the cows that came into milk in 1896.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1860 -
Original cottage constructed

1883 -
Cottage extended into five-bedroom two-storey farmhouse

1950 -
Washhouse added to rear of farmhouse

1982 -
Milking shed restored

1992 -
Garage constructed

2002 - 2003
More restoration work completed on cowshed/stables

Completion Date

25th August 2006

Report Written By


Information Sources

Alexander Turnbull Library

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

Horne, Linnette, 'From Monacute to Monacute: The Wiltons of Wellington', unpublished manuscript, n.d. [c.1990], p.1 MS-Papers-4280-054.

Wilton, Job, fl. 1853-1917, Deeds book for his estate, MS-Papers-8173.

Beach family: Genealogical and Personal Papers of the Beach and Woodward families, MS-Group-1366, Papers Relating to Wadestown, 89-266-5/09.

Robert Wilton and Seven Sons, C6146.

Alexander, 1959

John H. Alexander, Historic Wellington, A.H and A. W. Reed, Wellington, 1959

Archives New Zealand (Wgtn)

Archives New Zealand (Wellington)

J acc W2781, (box 13), WLR 1889/47, (Dispute between Mr. Job Wilton and T.W. and J. McKenzie and others re Section 31, Karori District).

Job Wilton, Probate, AAOM 6029, acc W3265, 19851/1919.

Scenic Reserve - Wilton's Bush, ABKK, acc W4069, (box 121), 52/53/.

Bremner, 1983

J. Bremner, 'Wellington's Northern Suburbs 1849-1918', Wellington, 1983

Bremner, 1987

J. Bremner, Wellington's Northern Suburbs 1919-1945, (Onslow Historical Society: Wellington), 1987



15 March 1949, 26 Nov 1952

Maxwell, 1935

E. Maxwell, Recollections and Reflections of an Old New Zealander, Dunedin: A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1935

Evening Post

Evening Post

15 March 1949, 2 May 1949, 24 June 1950, 29 Nov 1952, 6 Dec 1952, 18 Feb 1977, April 1980, 1982

Hamer, 1990 (2)

David Hamer and Roberta Nicholls (eds), The Making of Wellington 1800-1914, Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1990

Cochran, Chris, 'Styles of Sham and Genuine Simplicity'.

Beaglehole, Diana, 'Political Leadership in Wellington 1839-1853'

New Zealand Government Gazette

New Zealand Government Gazette

Wakefield, E.J., Adventure in New Zealand, London: John Murray, 1845 (Wilson & Horton facsimile, n.d.), vol.2

Onslow Historian

Onslow Historian

Bentall, J.P., 'Wilton Farm Homestead 1861-1880s: An Architectural View', Vol 21, No.2 and 3, 1991.

Waugh, Helen, 'The Wilton Story', Vol 21, No. 2 and 3, 1991.


The Nor'wester

1 Nov 1977


The Sentinel

25 Jan 1978

Ward, 1928

L. Ward, Early Wellington, Wellington, 1928

Wellington City Council

Wellington City Council

Gabites, Isobel, Otari Native Botanic Garden Management Plan 1996, Wellington: Wellington City Council Policy Unit, Social and Cultural Commissioning, 1996, http://wellington.govt.nz/plans/policies/otari/; Historic Places: Wilton Farmhouse: 116 Wilton Road; Wellington City Council:

B29534, 116 Wilton Road, washhouse, 4 April, 1950.

E25242, 116 Wilton Road, Garage, 1992.

1457, 116 Wilton Road, Bathroom, 22 June 1993.

Dated: 27 March 1973- 16 April 1992

Ref. No. 00277:321:28/6/1.

Subdivision, 116 Wilton Road, E. Curtis

Dated: 1969-1976

Ref. No. 0277:1344:8.

Land: For Reserve-Wilton Bush Rd and Churchill Drive, Wilton Farmhouse

Dated: 1969-1991

Ref. No. 00001:805:22 /1653.

Re memo to Town Clerk re Mr Wilton's application for right of way through Town Belt Section - City Solicitor

Dated: 08 Jan 1879

Ref. No. 0233:3:1879/1474.

Conservation Plan

Conservation Plan

Taylor, Paul, Conservation Plan: Wilton Farm House, 116 Wilton Road, Wilton, Wellington, n.d. [c.2001]

Other Information

New information became available after the completion of the report. A fully referenced version of this report, including these amendments, is available from the NZHPT Central Region Office (Wellington).

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.