Historical Significance or Value
The Queensberry Inn Stable Block dates from the mid 1860s and offered stabling facilities for travellers for close to 60 years. It has historical significance as the one remaining structure surviving from the earliest period when the Inn was in operation.
ARCHITECURAL SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUE:
The Queensberry Inn Stable Block has modest architectural significance as an example of a purpose-built facility for wayside accommodation. The use of local stone demonstrates vernacular architecture at its most simple and the building is a good representative example of typical nineteenth century Otago construction.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:
The Queensberry Inn Stable Block is representative of aspects of New Zealand's history. The inn was built in an era of horse-drawn travel when accommodation houses were required at regular intervals. Wagons, transporting goods and produce, could take even longer on journeys between Dunedin and Central Otago. This was also the site of the Queensberry store and post office, fulfilling essential functions in what would have been an isolated rural community in the nineteenth century. In this way the Queensberry stables provide knowledge of New Zealand's history, representing the physical remains of a former larger local community and its infrastructure.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:
Queensberry Inn Stable Block is part of a network of accommodation houses, hotels and wayside inns which served the travelling public of the nineteenth century, and can be seen as part of that historical landscape.
SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICNACE OR VALUES:
This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.
The Queensberry Inn Stable Block is a remnant of a form of accommodation once common in the South Island for travellers during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Each of the provinces had their own ordinances defining and licensing accommodation houses. In Canterbury, for example, few of the original accommodation houses are still standing, and from an archaeological point of view the remains of those no longer standing are recognised, by archaeologist Chris Jacomb as having considerable regional significance as a 'tangible reminder of the role of accommodation houses in the settlement of remote pastoral landscapes.' He also notes that 'accommodation houses along with their associated ferries and roads of the early colonial period have both historic and archaeological significance that may not have been widely appreciated previously.'
In gold fields Otago an Accommodation House was a public house, and served a sort of rendezvous for travellers of all sorts. Accommodation houses were a feature of mid-nineteenth century travel in the more remote areas of the provinces, and there were some early attempts to regulate their form and use. In Canterbury, for example, the first public house ordinance dated from 1856 and specified a range of conditional licences.
In Otago the first accommodation houses appear to have been associated with ferries. The Otago Provincial Council's Ferries Ordinance (1854) allowed the superintendent of the Province to 'reserve or appropriate on each side of the water frontage and an adjoining piece of land not exceeding 50 acres for the use of the ferryman and family', and for 'erecting and maintaining thereon a house or inn, with stockyards, stables, and other accommodations for the convenience of the public.' The superintendent could conditionally license such accommodations.
By 1861 with the deluge of shanties, grog houses and travellers accommodation springing up along the route to the gold fields, the Otago Provincial Council became more involved in legislating to control the trade through the Licensing Ordinance of that year. By 1862 applications for bush licenses were published in the Otago Provincial Government Gazette, and by the middle of that year future applicants were required to provide evidence to support of their application. With the gold rushes there were many applications for bush licenses. By 1862 the provincial government required that future applications for Bush Licenses or for Wine and Beer Licenses be published in the Gazette. Applications for these licenses were also required to 'state what accommodation they have for travellers, and give a sketch of the building for which the license is asked.' The application was to be supported by respectable inhabitants (householders) not in any way connected with the traffic. No private interviews to be granted to applicant or agent of applicant. Unfortunately this information does not seem to have survived, nor the conditions under which licenses were granted.
Townships started to spring up in Central Otago from the early 1860s, but travel and the supplying of stores to the goldfields from the town of Dunedin remained a slow and difficult journey. Coaching houses and wagon stops, such as the Lee Stream Hotel (still standing) and the former Queensberry Inn, provided essential resting places along the way, when bullocks and wagons covered distances of only about fifteen miles (24 kilometres) in a day, while horse-drawn coaches could cover up to a hundred miles or more.
The Queensbury Inn Stable Block is all that remains of the former hotel and is located near Luggate on the Cromwell-Wanaka Highway, in the vicinity of the large pastoral runs of Mt. Pisa and Queensberry stations.
Archaeologist Neville Ritchie records that the wagon stop was established about 1867. According to local historian Stanley Kane, Thomas Anderson built and operated a hotel naming it for the Marquis of Queensberry. However, the historian Herries Beattie states that Robert Wilkin named the district after the Queensberry Hills in his native Dumfriesshire with Anderson then applying the name to his hotel. The Queensberry wagon stop consisted of the hotel and stables, a store, and the post office which opened in June 1887, with the holder of the hotel license also holding the license for the post office.
Thomas Anderson arrived in Otago aboard the Cavalry in 1860. In 1881 he added to his business operations when he applied for land to build a flour mill in that year. He had also built a coaching inn at nearby Kidd's Gully.
An 1879 survey showed that there were at least three structures on this section by that date: a shed, stable and house are indicated, alongside a large garden.
Archaeologist Neville Ritchie considers that European settlement in the Queensberry area was relatively unfocused, but that Queensberry Corner (the bend in the otherwise straight road at Queensberry) constituted a focal point on the western side of the Clutha in the nineteenth century. The hotel provided accommodation for travellers, while the store and post office provided essential functions and a community meeting place for the isolated rural community, supplying food and other goods to miner and settlers as well as postal services. The hotel was a stopover for both supply wagons and coaches. Coaching companies Cobb & Co. and Craig & Co. both stopped at the Queensberry Inn Hotel and stables. Passengers arrived by the twice-weekly coach from Dunedin to Wanaka, while wagons pulled by eight-horse teams carried supplies from the railhead at Lawrence to Wanaka, the trip taking about a week. A former worker on the Queensberry run recalled that 12 wagons and up 100 horses were sometimes stabled overnight at Queensberry.
The Queensberry Inn changed hands several times in the early years of the twentieth century and by that time was described as in poor condition. In 1906 the Queenstown Licensing Committee renewed the license for only one quarter of the year, after which the Committee would consider whether the 'state of the house, etc., has been sufficiently improved to warrant the full granting of the accommodation license.'
A photograph reproduced in both Ritchie and Hamel's reports shows the Queensbury buildings in 1907 consisting of four structures, one with 'John Brensell' painted on the roof. A number of carriages and horses are pulled up outside, and the image is captioned 'The Governor and party lunching at Queensberry'. The Queensberry Inn appears to be behind and to the left of the post office, with the stables themselves just outside the image.
Hotelkeeper John Brensell purchased the Queensberry Inn in 1907.He paid £700 for the freehold (330 acres/133.5 hectares) of the property, and an additional £217 for the stock and furniture. He took possession in April of that year and made about £15 a week. In addition Brensell planted 75 acres (30 hectares) in crops, having first to clear out a mile and a half of water race. He also spent a 'considerable amount' on repairing the buildings which were in a 'bad state.' All the expenditure was too much for Brensell and in October 1907 his mortgagees sold the property to a Mrs Satchler, and Brensell was declared bankrupt.
From about 1914, when the Mt Cook Tourist Company began running buses from Queenstown to the Hermitage, the Queensberry Inn (also known at that stage as the Queensberry Inn Hotel) was used as a lunch stop.
The Queensberry Inn evidently ceased operating in June 1925, when the license was not renewed as the premises were considered 'out of order'. The post office closed in March 1925, although the telephone bureau continued until 1957. In 1938, William Reid sold the property to a local farmer, and the property changed hands several times until the 1970s.
Photographs taken in the 1970s show the buildings in a dilapidated state. While the house on the property appears to incorporate the former post office, there is no visible evidence remaining to indicate the location of the Queensberry Inn itself, indicating that it had been demolished by this date.
In the 1970s the Crown (as the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand) purchased the site of the Queensberry Hotel as part of land to possibly be included in one of five potential hydro-electric dams on the Clutha River.
In 1993 the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand sold the property to the current owners who carried out extensive renovations, restoring the former stable block for use as a boutique accommodation business. They also transformed the area with extensive gardens that are now well established. A heritage covenant between NZHPT and the owners of the building was placed over the property in 1994.
Local stonemason Ian McKay reset the walls. A new roof was constructed, and the rotten floorboards removed, and a concrete and tile floor laid. The tongue and groove wooden ceiling was replaced, and plumbing and electricity installed. The existing window frames were replaced with kauri windows from a building on Stewart Island. The first guests stayed in the refurbished building at Easter in 1994.
In 2008 the Queensberry Inn Stable Block continues to be used as boutique accommodation.
The Queensberry Inn Stable Block sits in a mature garden setting in the largely rural landscape of the Upper Clutha, and is typical of the vernacular style of stone buildings found in Central Otago.
The main building is 19 metres long and 4.2 metres wide. The schist walls vary between 500mm and 580mm thick. The stones are fixed with lime mortar, while the north and east elevations show evidence of lime plastering. The building has a timber-framed gable roof, while over the stable there is a single-pitched roof.
According to architect Chris Cochran the building was constructed in two stages: the groom's quarters were built first, and the harness room and stable added later. The north portion of the stable block served as the grooms' quarters, which has a traditional nineteenth century cottage form. A central door opens into the larger of the two rooms, and has a symmetrical window opening on either side. The partition walls are timber. The smaller room was originally the harness room, formerly unlined with an earth floor. The fireplace and chimney have now been removed from the northwest corner. Both rooms originally had a vertical tongue and groove lined dado. The coved ceiling was similarly matchlined.
A larger section of the stables is now a bedroom, with a smaller section forming the ensuite bathroom.
Waggoners' stop established
Post Office opened
Building refurbished for use as a bed and breakfast business
Stone (schist), lime mortar, corrugated iron roof
6th May 2008
Report Written By
Angela Middleton/Heather Bauchop
Australian Historical Archaeology
Australian Historical Archaeology
Chris Jacomb, 'Bullock Wagons and Settlement Patterns in a New Zealand Pastoral Landscape', 18, 2000
Stanley Kane, Luggate: the story of a district and its people from 1860, Published by the author, 1991
I Roxburgh, The Wanaka Story, Reed, Wellington, 1977
A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Otago/Southland Area 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.