31 Merioneth Street, Arrowtown
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
24th November 1983
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Sec 2 Blk XX Town of Arrowtown (CT OT308/35), Otago Land District and the building known as the Cottage thereon.
Sec 2 Blk XX Town of Arrowtown (CT OT308/35), Otago Land District
Originally built on the edge of town in the 1860s or 1870s, this small stone cottage is one of several small nineteenth century cottages on Anglesea Street. The cottage has high aesthetic values and contributes to the heritage character of Arrowtown, one of New Zealand’s best-preserved gold mining towns. It is a testament to the ‘quiet and unobtrusive’ locals who built Arrowtown from a small, precarious mining settlement on the edge of nowhere, to a popular stopover in Central Otago’s thriving tourist industry.
In 1872, Joseph Woodhead, a miner, purchased Sections 1 and 2 Block XX on the corner of Merioneth and Kent Streets. It is possible the cottage predated the title being issued. This was not uncommon and later owners believed the cottage dated from the 1860s. Certainly Woodhead had need of a cottage from 1865 when he married Catherine Craven.
The cottage was built of schist with a clay floor and was divided into four rooms. Later a wooden lean-to with an extra bedroom and porch were added. The rear porch opened up to where the copper, the only tap and the long-drop toilet were situated. Also at the rear was a small coal and wood shed. Until around 1951, the only washing facility was the outside tap. The medium pitched roof, symmetry and small paned sash windows evoke a Georgian period, while the broken back verandah roof is an ‘almost ubiquitous Arrowtown vernacular form’.
In 1910, Patrick Tobin (1869-1941), of the Arrowtown Borough Council and Lake County Press, purchased the property for £70 1s 9d. A bachelor, Tobin bought the cottage to provide a home for some of his family after fire destroyed their home beside Tobin’s Track. Tobin began work for the Lake County Press around 1882 aged 13. In 1929 he joined the Lake Wakatip Mail as their Arrowtown correspondent until his death in 1941. Tobin was ‘ever ready to do a good turn…[and] was held in the highest esteem of all who knew him. His word was his bond and his friendship was a thing to be prized’. Tobin died in 1941 and the cottage passed to his widowed sister Anne McLintock. On her death in 1951, it was bought as a holiday home.
In 1952, a lean-to shed was added and wallpaper and scrim were replaced with Pinex wallboard. By 1997, much of the timber needed replacing as well as the roof structure. Architect Max Wild extended the porch and put a shower where the coal and wool shed had been. A shed extension was added to house garden furniture and sports gear, to improve the roof line.
1866 - 1878
Rear wooden lean-to
Rear porch modified and extended
13th March 2014
Report Written By
F.W.G Miller, Golden Days of Lake County, 5th edn, Christchurch, 1973
Bowman and Reid, 2005
Ian Bowman and Becky Reid, ‘An Inventory of heritage structures in Arrowtown’, Queenstown, Queenstown Lakes District Council, 2005.
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Regional Office of the NZHPT.
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.