307 Gleniti Road, Hadlow
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
23rd June 1983
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 2 DP 331059 (CT 127493), Canterbury Land District, and the building known as Oakwood thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero meeting on 8 June 2017.
Lot 2 DP 331059 (CT 127493), Canterbury Land District
The two storeyed timber dwelling known as Oakwood at 307 Gleniti Road, Hadlow, on the outskirts of Timaru, is of historical significance due to its long association with farmer, Gladstone Robinson, and his family. It is of architectural interest as an example of a work by Timaru architect Jas Turnbull, constructed in 1906.
English-born Gladstone Robinson (b.1860-d.1936) had arrived at Port Chalmers in 1880 and initially farmed in Otago. He married Eva Bathgate in 1888. In 1900 he purchased the Otumarama Estate on the outskirts of Timaru in South Canterbury from Robert Hay. Five years later he sold that property to Arthur Elworthy, eventually repurchasing the upper block of it to build ‘Oakwood’ in 1906. In April 1906 the Timaru architect Jas Turnbull (1864-1947) was advertising for tenders to build a residence he had designed for Gladstone Robinson. Turnbull had worked in a Melbourne architect’s office before returning to establish his own practice in Timaru in circa 1895. In a career spanning over 40 years, Turnbull designed a wide range of building types in the South Canterbury town, including church, school and commercial buildings and a considerable number of large town houses. Oakwood is one such house.
The homestead Oakwood is situated at Hadlow, just to the west of Timaru. It sits approximately 500 metres to the south-west of where the late nineteenth century building known as Otumarama (List No. 2068), the property previously owned by Gladstone Robinson, is situated. The house is clad with weatherboards and has a pitched roof clad with corrugated iron. Stylistically it has an Arts and Crafts influence, with wide overhanding eaves and exposed rafters, timber shingles on part of the first floor and in the gables and decorative fretwork in the verandah. A distinctive feature of the house is the triangular shaped bay-like windows that project onto the verandah on both storeys. A single storeyed projection attached to the northern façade appears to be a later addition, and may explain why the building is sometimes thought to date to the 1930s.
Gladstone Robinson’s farming interests included involvement with pure-bred Holstein bulls, which he exhibited in the district. The Robinson family hosted numerous functions and guests at Oakwood over the years. In 1920, the Robinsons kept hold of the homestead and a few acres of land but sold the balance to the Government for a settlement for discharged soldiers, which is known as the Oakwood Settlement. Although they had stopped large scale farming, the Robinsons remained living and entertaining at Oakwood for many years, Eva remaining there after Gladstone’s death in 1936 briefly. Subsequent owners include Charles Deans Hudson, retired miller of Dunedin (from 1937), Charles Stewart Elms, Timaru hotelkeeper (from 1945), Michael Costello, farmer (from late 1950), and Henry and Sybil Robinson (from 1951), Pyne Gould Guinness Limited (from 1963), hotelkeeper George Everiss and his wife Maureen Everiss (from 1969), photographer William Bower and his wife Christine (from 1971). The current owners purchased the property in 2003.
Thomson, John Turnbull
John Turnbull Thomson (1821- 1884) was born in Northumberland, England and educated in Berwickshire, Scotland. He studied mathematics at Aberdeen University and engineering at Newcastle before travelling to South-east Asia to work in the jungles of Penang, Malaysia.
He was only 20 when he was appointed government surveyor by the governor of Singapore. He drew maps and constructed bridges, buildings and roads. After 12 years of work he was invalided back to England in 1853 and after his recovery he moved to New Zealand.
His work in Singapore led, upon his arrival in 1856, to an immediate offer of the position of chief surveyor of Otago. He took up the job in May 1856 and his first big project was laying out the proposed town of Invercargill. In 1857-58 he surveyed Otago province, a huge undertaking that had to be done on horseback. In addition to his surveying work he designed bridges and roads across the province. To facilitate the expansion of Dunedin he supervised the removal of Bell Hill. Thomson married Jane Williamson on 7 October 1858 and he and his wife had nine daughters in all.
As a mark of Thomson's standing, he was appointed the country’s first surveyor general after the dissolution of the provinces and the establishment of the Survey Department in 1876. He retired on 31 October 1879. Even in retirement he and his wife had another daughter - their ninth and last.
Thomson was a skilled and prolific watercolourist and author. He and his family retired to Invercargill and the house he had built, Lennel, is registered Category I by the NZHPT.
(Michael Kelly and Ray Stone, Old Dunstan Road Registration Report, 17 September 2010, NZHPT)
Addition and alterations
26th April 2017
Report Written By
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.
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.