106 Don Street, Invercargill
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 Pt Lot 2 DP 4165 (CT 33695), Southland Land District and the house thereon.
Pt Lot 2 DP 4165 (CT 33695), Southland Land District
One of a pair of matching houses probably built in the early twentieth century on Don Street in Invercargill, this small brick residence stands as a reminder of the residential development in this now predominantly commercial area, and has architectural and historical significance.
The land on which this pair of houses is built was first granted to Robert Millar in November 1869. The first mention of buildings on Section 20 is a real estate advertisement in May 1879 offering for sale the fenced quarter acre section on which was erected ‘ONE Four-roomed COTTAGE , and ONE Three-roomed COTTAGE.’ Robert Millar (1826?-1911) had arrived aboard the Rajah in 1853 settling in Dunedin before moving to Invercargill in 1859, working as a sawyer and contractor. Millar developed several properties in Invercargill, one of which he sold in 1875 had a single section and two cottages built on it – so developing and selling is consistent with Millar’s property portfolio. He was also a city councillor. A nearby section also had two residences built on it, so this density of development was typical of this part of Don Street.
Invercargill stationer Aaron Blacke bought the property in 1880, and appears to have lived there from that period, possible letting the adjoining cottage. Belfast-born Blacke landed in Dunedin in 1876 and moved to Invercargill shortly thereafter. After some years as a book keeper, he went into business on his own account in Dee Street. He was involved in local body politics, being mayor and councillor for a period, and was also active in civic causes. He and wife Elizabeth had one son. When Blacke died in 1900, his wife Elizabeth took over his business, and rented out one of the houses. She advertises a ‘six-roomed house’ on Don Street’ to let in July 1914. Electoral rolls show that their son James Joseph lived next door.
A catalogue of dwellings designed by The Property & Finance Co., an Invercargill company formed by architects Invercargill architects William Bremner and Charles Lambeth around 1910, has a picture of the two cottages. The catalogue shows photographs of the pair of houses, and a plan showing their layout. The plan is ‘Design No. 21’ and is described as ‘a design specially prepared to suit a town site of 68 feet frontage for two houses.’ The walls were cavity brick veneer. Plans show three bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, pantry and scullery. The estimated cost for the two houses was £850. Bremner and Lambeth dissolved their partnership in June 1914.
It is not until 1916 that the street directories give street numbers, at which time Elizabeth and her son are living at 104 Don Street, and electrician Robert Millard is living at 106 Don Street. In 1920, Elizabeth and James still reside in 104 while Mrs May Logan lives in 106. In 1923, James has moved next door. Elizabeth owned the property until 1945 and died in 1946.
In 1949 Section 20 was subdivided into two separate titles – with one house on each title. In later years, the houses have been converted for commercial use, with additions to the rear. In 2018, they are home to a physiotherapy clinic and medical centre.
Charles Lambeth was born in Dunedin in 1867. His English-born father was a builder who settled in Dunedin. Charles started out as a carpenter, presumably trained by his father – first in Dunedin, and then around 1895, in Invercargill. Around 1910 he entered into a partnership with William Bremner as the Property and Finance Co. The company prepared a catalogue of already built residences to allow customers to buy off the plans: Property & Finance Co., New Zealand homes: a book of practical designs and plans for those who wish to build: 50 designs of houses already built, Property & Finance Co., Invercargill, . Bremner and Lambeth dissolved their partnership in 1914. By the around 1916, he had started describing himself as an architect. He practised as an architect in Invercargill between 1916 and around 1920. In 1921, Lambert moved to Hamilton and carried on his practice there. He died in Hamilton in 1943.
Charles William Henry Chilcott Bremner was born in Dunedin in 1879. In 1902 he married Alice McLachlan. The couple lived in Invercargill. Around 1910 he entered into a partnership with William Bremner as the Property and Finance Co. The company prepared a catalogue of already built residences to allow customers to buy off the plans: Property & Finance Co., New Zealand homes: a book of practical designs and plans for those who wish to build: 50 designs of houses already built, Property & Finance Co., Invercargill, . Bremner and Lambeth dissolved their partnership in 1914. In the 1920s, the Bremners shifted to Auckland, where Bremner continued his architectural practice.
4th April 2018
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 Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand