Whalebone Cottage

704 Ferry Road, Woolston, Christchurch

  • Whalebone Cottage.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Pam Wilson. Date: 26/01/2005.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1945 Date Entered 24th June 2005


Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the house, its fittings and fixtures, and the land on CB 12K/780

City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 3 DP 29107 (CT CB12K/780), Canterbury Land District


On 25 August 1851 Charles Thomas Maunsell selected rural section 14, a hundred acre block for which he paid £300. Maunsell died in 1859, and executor RJS Harman, a well-known land agent, undertook a subdivision of the property. In 1867 Daniel Scott (1824-71) purchased from Harman a section of one acre, two roods and nine perches fronting Ferry Road. Daniel and his wife Maria had arrived in Canterbury aboard the 'Glenmark' in 1865. On their new section the Scotts built a cottage known initially as 'The Homestead', but probably by about 1880 as 'Whalebone Cottage'. This name was derived from the large whale ribs that formed an arched gateway to the garden for over one hundred years. They are however no longer extant.

Although the Scotts probably built Whalebone Cottage as a family home, Daniel's premature death in 1871 may have forced his family to lease the house out. Between 1880 and 1883 it was let to surgeon Dr Frederick Everard Hunt. Son of an editor of the London Weekly News, Frederick Hunt (1840-1900) was educated at University College and Guys Hospital, London. After practising at Sydenham, Kent, he emigrated with his wife Cecilia and family of seven (eventually nine) on the Edwin Fox in 1880. After leasing Whalebone Cottage as a first home, Hunt commenced practice in Woolston in 1881. Apparently a short stout man with long white hair, Hunt's relationship with his patients may not have been a harmonious one. MacDonald notes that 'He was always swearing at or being sworn at by the people of Woolston' . Hunt was a member of the Christchurch Hospital Board, the Heathcote Roads Board, and was a founder of the Christchurch Medical Society, for whom he served as secretary. In 1883 Hunt left Whalebone Cottage, having purchased a similar house at 303 Ferry Road. This house, built in 1876, is also still extant, and is registered as a Category II Historic Place.

In 1891 Maria Scott died, and the following year Whalebone Cottage was purchased by Cicily Bailey, wife of architect Charles Bailey. It was probably during the tenure of the Baileys that the cottage was altered to its present appearance. In the front elevation the plain dormer barges were replaced with more elaborate ones, a bullnose replaced the original simple straight verandah, and the six pane sashes of the ground floor windows were replaced with two pane sashes. The lean-to at the rear may also have been extended at this time, providing for a new kitchen, scullery and bathroom; and the original shingled roof replaced with corrugated iron. Cecily Bailey died in 1901, and her interest was conveyed to her husband. He subdivided the section, selling half to James Scott, a son of Daniel and Maria, and the other half - including the cottage - to George Moon.

George Moon (b 1850), a soap and candle manufacturer with the Zealandia Soap and Candle Works, came originally from Birmingham. He married Rosina Jones (b 1852) and they emigrated from England to New Zealand in 1874. They had six children. In 1937 the property was inherited by two of Moon's daughters: Helen, who had married into the Bailey family; and Ada. Ada, who was unmarried, lived at the address until her death. Periodically she was joined by her niece, Helen's daughter Annie (known as Nancy). In 1953 the sisters again subdivided the property, selling a section to the west to William and Sarah Lowe. This section also contained a small cottage.

Following Helen's death in 1957 and Ada's death in 1958, Whalebone Cottage was inherited by Nancy Bailey. In 1958 it was sold to Charles Lingard, together with some furniture. Charles and his three sons carried out considerable internal work, including the installation of a new kitchen and an inside toilet, and relining with hardboard. Some exterior walls were also reclad in Polite, and a new window put in the bathroom. Following Charles' death in 1965, the property was transmitted to his wife Phyllis. Bruce Lingard purchased the cottage from his mother in 1970.

About 1964 Bruce had repurchased the adjacent cottage that had been subdivided from the property in 1953. Following his acquisition of Whalebone Cottage, Bruce demolished its neighbour, and re-subdivided the whole site into three sections in 1973. Bruce's family remained living in Whalebone Cottage, extending the lounge in the southeast corner in 1972. In 1975 the fierce Nor' wester that devastated large parts of Canterbury also demolished the cottage's chimney. The top part slid down the roof and crashed through the verandah! The chimney was soon repaired, but the damaged verandah had to wait until 1982 to be made good. Other repairs were also carried out in 1982, with a new window installed in the kitchen and the cottage repainted.

In 1980, ownership of the property was transferred to his wife Helen. She and her three sons subsequently shifted to a Rakaia Gorge farm, and the cottage was rented out between 1980 and 1986. In 1986, son Robert returned to the city to serve a welding apprenticeship, and leased the cottage from his mother. Robert eventually purchased the property in 1989, and began a sensitive restoration. Internally, folding doors were installed between the kitchen and living room to create a larger living space. The bathroom was rebuilt, and its metal window on the west elevation replaced with a more compatible double sash window that came originally from the Prebbleton School. The partial Pol-ite wall cladding has been replaced with new weatherboards.

Today the well-maintained cottage provides a comfortable home for Robert Lingard and his family. Enveloped in an immaculate rose-filled garden, the cottage provides an oasis amidst an area dominated by undistinguished post-war housing and blocks of flats.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Architectural and social significance or value as a relatively original and quite distinguished example of a working class house of the nineteenth century. It also demonstrates in its 1890s alterations the changing architectural tastes of the late Victorian period.

(g) in design it is typical of workers' cottages of the colonial period - though as a consequence of its 1890s renovations, its exterior decorative features are unusually elaborate for such a house.

(i) it dates from the first two decades of settlement in Christchurch.

(j) it is an increasingly rare surviving example of working class housing of the mid nineteenth century in Christchurch.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Bailey, Charles

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Scott, Daniel

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

An unusually detailed symmetrical one-and-a-half storey 'saltbox' type cottage. The front elevation is distinguished by a handsome bullnose verandah with timber fretwork, and a pair of round-headed dormer windows with elaborate semi-circular bargeboards and paired corbels. The cottage has some resemblance to 303 Ferry Rd (c1876, Cat. II). In plan, the cottage had the usual four ground floor rooms divided by a central passage with a straight stair rising from the rear to give access to the attic.

Construction Dates

1989 -
Restoration, including internal alteration and replacement of bathroom window.

Original Construction
1867 -

1892 -
Alterations, including dormer bargeboards, ground floor windows and verandah.

1958 - 1965
Internal renovations, new bathroom window, partial recladding.

1972 -
Extension of lounge.

1975 -
Rebuilding chimney.

1982 -
Renovations and repairs, including new kitchen window

Construction Details

Timber with an iron roof.

Information Sources

Christchurch City Council

Christchurch City Council

Heritage Unit File, Building File.

MacDonald Biographies

G.R. MacDonald, Dictionary of Canterbury Biographies, Canterbury Museum, n.d.

Frederick Hunt, Charles Maunsell, Daniel Scott

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

12313-603 Whalebone Cottage

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Southern Region Office.

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.