Lake House

102 Lake Crescent, Hamilton

  • Lake House. Front elevation,.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Gail Henry. Date: 20/03/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2701 Date Entered 19th February 2010


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 3 DP 6302, South Auckland Land District and the building known as Lake House thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information.) It does not include the subterranean cool store as it is partially located under adjacent property(s) and the only way to determine its extent accurately is with ground penetrating radar.

City/District Council

Hamilton City


Waikato Region

Legal description

Lot 3 DP 6302 (CT SA1741/94), South Auckland Land District


Constructed in 1873, Lake House, Hamilton, is the oldest surviving house related to the great Waikato estates established in the late 1860s-1870s. Two of its earliest owners were prominent businessmen, property speculators and Members of Parliament in the House of Representatives. The house was constructed on the shore of Lake Rotoroa as the residence for Alfred Cox, who lived in Lake House with his family from 1873 to 1879.

The house was designed and constructed in Victorian Georgian style by Isaac R. Vialou, Hamilton's first architect and its first mayor. A two storey timber building facing northeast on gently sloping higher ground, it is an imposing landscape feature when viewed from across the lake. The house is the only known, extant example of architect Isaac R. Vialou's work in Hamilton, despite his considerable contributions to the built landscape in Auckland and the Waikato.

From 1884 to 1894 the Lake property, a 283 hectare-portion of the original estate, was managed by Harry Bullock-Webster and subsequently by Thomas and Ellen Walter. Thereafter it was subdivided such that the house was attached to only four hectares by 1908, then subdivided several times more as Hamilton suburbia spread around the southern and western sides of Lake Rotoroa. Lake House retains its original use as a family residence and has been closely associated with or occupied by, medical staff at nearby Waikato Hospital.

Lake House has importance for its association with one of the speculative ventures by Auckland businessmen that led to the draining of Waikato swamp lands and conversion of these into arable pasture, thereby enabling the various agricultural and horticultural industries to develop. The house is significant in being associated with James Williamson, Auckland businessman, entrepreneur and investor and politician; Alfred Cox, major landholder and farmer of Canterbury, author, investor and politician, and Harry Bullock-Webster who played a major role in the development of horse riding sports in the Auckland Province, and who drew and painted many aspects of New Zealand life in the 1880s and 1890s. Lake House is one of the two oldest remaining structures in Hamilton. These are both residences, but of markedly different character, Lake House being the large rural residence of a wealthy landowner-farmer and the other, Beale Cottage, being a simple small cottage built for a former militiaman and doctor and built within an urban environment.

Lake House dates from the earliest years of Hamilton's establishment as a European settlement and is the oldest remaining residence of those built for the owners of the great Waikato estates. It is the only known, surviving local example of Hamilton architect Isaac R. Vialou's, work, a man also prominent in local affairs being Hamilton's first mayor after the town achieved borough status in 1877. It is the last vestige of the once expansive Rukuhia Estate, the transformation of the surrounding landscape reflects the spread of urbanisation and the building's remarkable survival into this now suburban setting. It is a physical manifestation of how Hamilton has expanded in over a century of development and part of the wider North Island story of the transformation of farming practice that took place in the 1870s-80s. The house is associated with several early and prominent businessmen and politicians, including original owners, James Williamson and Alfred Cox, both major landholders and Members of the House of Representatives.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Lake House is associated with the radical transformation of the Waikato landscape after the confiscation of land following the Third New Zealand War (Waikato War) 1863-64. The land on which it is situated was part of the large Rukuhia Estate, one of the great Waikato estates purchased primarily by Auckland and Hamilton speculators with an eye for investment potential. The owners, James Williamson and Alfred Cox, began a programme of draining and working the vast Rukuhia swamp, thereby transforming the landscape into arable land suitable for farming. He is recognised as having played a significant and early role in the development of Waikato's agricultural industry. The house as the home of the owner, was built as a showpiece, with the house for the hands-on farm manager being built some distance away along with a complex of utility buildings.

The house is associated with several major identities in New Zealand's history: James Williamson, Auckland businessman and politician; Alfred Cox, Canterbury farmer and politician; Harry Bullock-Webster, gentleman-farmer, horseman and artist of Hamilton and Auckland; and the house's architect, Isaac Vialou who was Hamilton Borough's first mayor and who contributed a large body of work to the built landscape.

Architectural Significance or Value:

The house is the only known extant Hamilton structure designed by Hamilton's first architect, Isaac Vialou, who was also Hamilton Borough's first mayor. He designed and built several residences, two hotels, farm buildings, and possibly undertook additions and re-modelling of the Auckland Hotel. It is the only extant example of a grand residence from the 1870s in Hamilton, with the design reflecting the crossroad of the time, between Georgian and Gothic architecture. The house forms an important architectural contrast to the small Hamilton cottage that dates from the same period.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

Lake House is illustrative of the large estates formed by Auckland businessmen, who bought up unwanted militia grants and large areas of unallocated land in the Waikato after government confiscation of Tainui land in 1864. They developed or attempted to develop the land into arable pasture, principally by draining vast expanses of swamp, with the intention of on selling the land for a profit. These enterprises played a major role in the development of the Waikato's agricultural industry. The story of the Rukuhia Estate is an outstanding example of the transformation of farming in the North Island post 1870, with farm holdings prior to that time being quite small compared to the vast estates developed in the 1870s-80s.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

As the earliest of the few remaining estate houses, Lake House stands out in its ability to illustrate a period of Waikato history that is relatively unknown: the ownership of large tracts of land by capitalists mostly operating from Auckland and speculating in, and developing, the newly available land post confiscation from Tainui. The failure of these ambitious ventures that involved the drainage and tilling of tens of thousands of hectares, led to subdivision into smaller family owned plots that form today's more familiar Waikato rural landscape.

The place is associated with James Williamson, wealthy Auckland businessman and Member of the House of Representatives. Lake House is also associated with Alfred Cox, owner of large tracts of land in Canterbury and also a Member of the House of Representatives; Cox invested with Williamson in the Rukuhia Estate and became the first occupant of Lake House while managing the estate. Harry Bullock-Webster, the second known occupant of Lake House and manager of the smaller farm, contributed to the development of horse racing and hunting in New Zealand; also an artist a number of his paintings are in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The house was designed and built by Isaac R. Vialou, Hamilton's first architect, who designed and built at least two hotels in the Waikato as well as residences and farm buildings, and a court building in Auckland. During the 1860s to early 1870s Vialou was well-known in Auckland as a hotelier, building materials supplier, architect and farmer; in Hamilton he had a major carriage works and building firm and was Hamilton's first mayor.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

Lake House illustrates a development in the design of managers'/owners' houses of the large estates, retaining an elite feel with it's Regency influences, whilst being relatively simple. It is a house that demonstrates the crossroad between the Georgian and Gothic architectural periods. It contrasts with the Gothic and colonial styles of other estate managers' and owners' houses of the late nineteenth century. While it has elements of Regency design, it is not symmetrical and has a bay window, references to the colonial style.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:

Lake House is one of only two buildings remaining in Hamilton that date to the early years of the establishment of Hamilton as a European settlement. It provides a contrast to the other building, Beale Cottage, which is a simple cottage, in terms of architecture, wealth and lifestyle.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Vialou Issac

Vialou arrived in New Zealand in 1858, and after farming at Wairoa shifted to Auckland where he established himself as an architect. He 'superintended the erection of the court house in High Street, as well as several other prominent buildings' including the Auckland Luncheon Larder in Shortland Street (1860). Other work in the Waikato included a woolshed and stabling (1872), a hotel in Cambridge (1873), a four-roomed cottage (1873), the Nottingham Castle hotel, Morrinsville (1877), the Waikato Hotel, Hamilton (1879), additions to the Masonic Hotel, Cambridge (1877), the billiard room at the Royal Hotel, Hamilton (1880), a cottage at Paterangi (1882) and a seven-roomed house at Paterangi (1882) (Waikato Times 15 June 1872, 5 July 1879, 6 March 1880, 25 September 1880, 18 April

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. Information in square brackets indicates modifications made after the paper was considered by the NZHPT Board.

Lake House was built in circa 1873 for James Williamson's Rukuhia Estate for his partner and manager Alfred Cox, on land surveyed in 1864 immediately following the colonial government's confiscation of vast tracts of Tainui land. Lake House is situated on gently sloping ground overlooking the west side of Lake Rotoroa, Hamilton. The eastern shore of the lake formed part of Hamilton West's western boundary with Lake House, at that time, being in Waipa County. When Lake House was built, Hamilton was still a very small town of fewer than 666 people. The land surrounding Hamilton had been mostly subdivided into 50- to 400-acre allotments for the 4th Waikato militiamen to settle, but some allotments such as those connected with Lake House were held by the government for sale.

Auckland businessman and politician, James Williamson and Alfred Cox together owned several thousand hectares south and west of Lake Rotoroa, much of that area known as the Rukuhia Swamp.The house is situated on Allotments variously acquired by them between 1865 and 1877.

James Williamson (1814-1888) was based in Auckland from 1841 when he established a store with Thomas Crummer. Williamson and Crummer made astute land purchases that saw Williamson a man of considerable wealth by the early 1860s; he won commissariat contracts during the Waikato wars. Williamson was a member of the House of Representatives (1862-67) and the Legislative Council (1870-88), a founder of the New Zealand Insurance Company (1859), the Bank of New Zealand (1861) and the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company (1865). On his land at Onehunga he built the palatial house called The Pah (Monte Cecilia, Record No. 89) in 1879. Williamson speculated heavily in Waikato land that became available, initially by himself, then in partnership with Alfred Cox in the Rukuhia Estate, and in 1881 as one of the four main shareholders of the Auckland Agricultural Company. This company was insolvent by 1887, as was Williamson, who died soon after in March 1888.

Alfred Cox (1825-1911) was a prominent landowner in the South Canterbury and Waikato districts. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1876, but retired because of ill-health and deafness in 1878. Cox helped finance a flour mill on Ohaupo Road, not far from Lake House, in 1872. He and Williamson were influential in the development of the Main Trunk Railway Line, as they provided land through the Rukuhia swamp for this purpose in 1872. Cox was described as well educated, an accomplished musician and a well-established farmer from Canterbury. He became a member of the Auckland Institute in April, 1873. He was considered to have 'done much to advance the material and social welfare of the district' being 'closely and zealously' identified with social enterprise. Cox was the editor of a book of biographies and author of a personal memoir.

Up until the mid-1860s 'the provincial pattern of Waikato farming had been small-scale', but access to large tracts of land confiscated from Tainui, changed this pattern. The first speculator to see the opportunities from acquisition of these lands was J.C. Firth with his lease of the Matamata Estate in 1866. Some formed land companies that played an important part in the development of the agricultural industry in New Zealand, particularly where major capital was required as was the case in the Waikato. Others associated in land deals in the Waikato were Thomas Russell, Henry Reynolds, Josiah Firth, Frederick Whittaker, William Steele and Every McLean. The Auckland Agricultural Company was in the same league as the Waikato Land Association and the Thames Valley Land Company and Williamson had partnerships with some of these men in relation to other properties.

The ground had to be cleared, ploughed and re-worked to maintain fertility, and vast areas of swamp drained, and it was only after this development work and preparation that the dairy industry was able to be established. Williamson's investments in draining and developing the Rukuhia land contributed greatly to the development of the agricultural industry in the Waikato; he would also have been a major employer subsidising farmers of small-holdings with casual or additional work. Williamson is also credited with being the first to import bumble bees to pollinate red clover.

Williamson and Cox were in the House of Representatives at the same time and in 1865 were reported to have 'paired off'. In 1871 Cox accompanied his 'friend' Williamson to the Waikato, reporting: 'I had often heard him speak of the block of land that he had purchased from the Government..'

Williamson and Cox's Rukuhia Estate lay south of Lake House and to the west of Ohaupo Road; Williamson bought up to 15,000 acres [6070 hectares] directly from the government, but subsequently acquired a further 8,000 acres [3238 hectares] from sections allocated to the militia. Williamson has been described as 'one of the leading landowners' and an 'Auckland carpet-bagger'.

Williamson and Cox poured money into draining the swamp. They introduced the first recreational amenity to the district in 1874, when they set aside land for a racecourse and show grounds.

The exact dates of design and construction of Lake House are not known, but by 6 June 1873, it was occupied by Alfred Cox and family. Described as a 'magnificent mansion' its architect, Vialou was Hamilton's first residential architect setting up business in Victoria Street in approximately June 1872. After shifting to Hamilton, Vialou set up a multi pronged business as architect, builder, decorator, supplier of building materials, carriage works, blacksmith etcetera from a workshop adjacent to the house he designed and built in southern Victoria Street. By January 1873 he was already involved with local affairs. Vialou was elected onto the Hamilton West Town Board and then became Hamilton Borough's first mayor in February 1878. He continued as a councillor, being 'ever distinguished for the active part he took in municipal matters'. He was considered to have contributed to Hamilton's development 'in no small degree'. Ill-health caused Vialou to sell various parts of his business in 1881 prior to leaving Hamilton in 1882 when he moved back to Auckland, and then to Rotorua where he managed the hotel Lake House until his death on 31 October 1884.

Built as a two-storey house, it had a total of eight main rooms with at least four bedrooms upstairs, and three rooms plus kitchen downstairs. There were wide arched hallways on each floor. On the ground floor a verandah extended along the eastern part of the front, which faced approximately north to Lake Rotoroa, and along the east side. It is possible that the lean to conservatory along the west side of the house was an addition after 1886. The materials were kauri with totara piles, and the roof was Welsh slate. The house originally had four chimneys, the two at the rear being situated against the exterior wall, the other two being interior; the southeast chimney was much taller than the others, and may have had an extension. An under-floor space accessed by steps leading down from the kitchen may have been intended as a hiding place in the event of attack by Maori. Another fully-subterranean room was constructed approximately 4 to 5 metres to the rear of the house, off set from its southeast corner.

Alfred and Mary Cox and family lived at Lake House until 18 April 1879 when after 'nearly six years' the partnership with Williamson was dissolved and they returned to Canterbury. When they left Cox was given an illustrated address by the Vestry of St Peter's Church for his 'valuable help of the last six years'; one of the signatories was I.R. Vialou. He was also given a silver inkstand from the children of Hamilton, in gratitude for 'kindness and exertion' in organising musical entertainments for them. The mayor described him as one our 'most useful and influential settlers' and that he would be remembered as 'one of the pioneers of reclamation and agriculture on a large scale'.

In 1880 the house was described as 'a good country house and some prettily planted grounds at the Hamilton end of the estate', the estate being described as 23,000 acres [9308 hectares]. Another large house existed on the Rukuhia Estate approximately 15 kilometres to the south from Lake House. This was apparently the hands-on farm manager's house, associated with a complex of farm buildings including a large wool shed which still exists but relocated to McGregor Road, Rukuhia close to the former manager's house. There were also stables, implement and carriage sheds, a granary, smithy and forge, shearers' quarters and a cookhouse.

In May 1882 James Williamson took Harry Bullock-Webster to Rukuhia. Bullock-Webster describes his first view of the property:

we passed the Lake property, which was a part of Rukuhia, but had been managed at one time by Mr Cox, of Canterbury. They had spent a lot of money on this end of the estate, having built a beautiful house and stables; and the trees, plantations, and orchards gave it a most homelike look, while the ground sloping down to the lake made a pretty picture...Mr Williamson [said] what a pity it was to see such a delightful place empty, with only a caretaker and stockman in charge.

In 1884 Bullock-Webster married Williamson's daughter Maud and moved into Lake House, his 'beautiful Dream-House' to manage the estate.

In early 1885 the size of the property was reduced through land sale and at this stage was only 700 acres [283 hectares], 'a great part of it swamp'. The property at this time was referred to by Bullock-Webster as 'the Lake Property' rather than Rukuhia Estate. Bullock-Webster's diaries include a large number of sketches and watercolours depicting places, events and livestock, often in caricature form.

In 1886 the Bullock-Websters advertised for a servant to work at the house. Accounts for 1886 show that at any one time at least six servants, including a nurse, were employed. Improvements at the property in 1886 included various repairs and the erection of cottages at the stables. At this time the farm was running cattle, sheep and draughthorses and growing hay, turnips and oats. In 1887 the Bullock-Websters went to England for three years, leasing Lake House to Colonel W.E. Forbes.

Bullock-Webster was involved to a small degree in local affairs. He was appointed on the committee for the proposed Waikato Meat-tinning Works in 1885 and in 1893 he was on the committee appointed to canvass for suppliers for a butter factory, which resulted in the establishment of the Frankton butter factory in 1894. However his main contributions were in horse sports. He was steward at the Waikato Steeplechase meetings, raced his own horses, hosted the Pakuranga Hunt Club at Lake House and in the early 1890s he established the Waikato Hunt Club, with kennels at the Lake for the hounds. In 1894 the Bullock-Websters shifted to 'Riverlea', a Category II registered house on the outskirts of Hamilton in what is now the suburb of Hillcrest. Lake House's occupants enjoyed recreational activities on the lake, as evidenced by sailing dinghies, a small jetty and by the early twentieth century, a small gable-roofed structure at the edge of the lake.

In 1895 Allotments changed hands again and on 15 May 1905 ownership of Lake House was brought under one title when further land was sold. The large property was further subdivided in 1906, 1907 and 1908, with some parcels being sold off and another being taken by the Crown as road reserve, this being the beginning of the formation of Lake Crescent which gives access from Ohaupo Road. The parcel surrounding Lake House remained as a 10-acre [4 hectares] plot and was transferred to Bessie Graham Holden, wife of Thomas Holden, on 4 May 1908.

Bessie and Thomas Holden had owned and farmed the 4000 acre [1619 hectares] farm 'Braemore' at Hunterville and came to Hamilton partly to retire, but also to give the children better opportunities for employment.

The land was further subdivided in 1928 with each of the children receiving a plot of land. Bessie Holden retained the house parcel, driveway and land between the house and the lake edge. Bessie Holden died on 2 September 1943 aged 87 and the property was passed to two of her children, Norman J. Holden and Isabella Bessie Jordan, who in turn sold to their niece Shirley Jean Sanson on 15 August 1944.

In 1949 the land was brought within the boundaries of Hamilton City as by this time subdivision had spread around to the south of the lake. In1956 and 1957 further land was sold off reducing the garden surrounds and removing the direct link between the lake and the house. On 20 June 1958 ownership of Lake transferred to architect, Robert Alfred Heaney, who 'modernised' the house's interior. Further reconfiguration of the land around Lake House occurred by 1960 and further changes of ownership occurred in the 1960s-70s.

Late in 2003 the property was bought by the current owners John Patrick and Jillian Barbara Shaskey. The sale of the house prompted media interest for achieving 'the second-highest residential price fetched in the city'. [Between 2004 and 2009, and again in 2010, the Shaskeys undertook renovation works at the house].

The house once had outstanding aesthetic significance with its lake front setting. For many decades after European settlement of the Waikato it was the only point of interest on the west side of the lake. It's imposing size and prominence on a gently-sloping lawn or pasture with scattered trees made an idyllic scene, captured by professional and skilled amateur photographers such as Henry Gaze, A.G. Tibbutt, Lawrence Cussen and James Reid. Since subdivision and the erection of houses between it and the lake and to its sides and rear, the picturesque aesthetic value has been significantly diminished. Lake House is recognised in publications on Hamilton's history and numerous newspaper articles attest to it being 'one of the oldest and most notable landmarks of Hamilton'. It is recognised as one of Hamilton's 'treasures' and is scheduled in the Hamilton City Council's District Plan. A recent publication on Hamilton's historic buildings cites the house as 'one of the grandest' around the lake.

Lake House is associated with Waikato Hospital and the medical profession through various owners and families. Lake House had a similar history and status in the rural community as does Woodlands, the house built for the New Zealand Land Association.

Lake House is no longer in its rural setting, but retains its original function as a residence. It is the oldest surviving residence of those built for the owners or managers of the great Waikato estates. Lake House is distinctive also because of its elite style reminiscent of Regency England, the other estate houses being in colonial styles, and often only single-storey.

Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. Information in square brackets indicates modifications made after the paper was considered by the NZHPT Board.

The house is set in an urban landscape of houses on a low hill on the western shore of Lake Rotoroa. The houses range in age from Lake House's 1873 to 2009 reflecting a gradual in-filling as properties have been sub divided. The grounds in front of the house are landscaped with terraces to retain a view of the lake from the house. The house can be seen from the opposite (east), south and north shores of the lake.

The front of the house faces north-north-east to the lake and is in Victorian Regency style with little adornment. The house is two storied with a single storey lean-to extension on the west side, set back slightly from the main fa├žade. This extension has a further small extension, built as a toilet, but now used as a cupboard. On part of the front and on the east side is a single-storey partially built-in verandah. At the rear (towards the street) is a single-storey extension forming the porch; this is open to the east. The floor plan is L shaped, with the short leg of the L being the depth of the front verandah; the bay window protrudes from the short leg of the L. On the upper floor above the front (lake side) door is a balcony with a dado wall also in weatherboards; French doors open onto the balcony from an upstairs passageway.

Most of the windows are single 4 light double hung sash windows, with a triple set in the front elevation of the main upstairs bedroom. The main room on the ground floor has a faceted bay window with a central 4 light window and a narrower single light window at each side. On the upper floor, one window has been replaced with a door leading onto a small balcony. On the ground floor, most of the original verandah has been walled in with a glazed door opening onto the remaining front verandah and the front and side walls having continuous banks of sliding casement windows.

The house is timber weatherboard and wooden frame construction with a hipped roof covered with slates. The slates are a purplish colour, whereas the slates on the verandah roofs are a greyer colour. At the time the slates were reinstated, those sourced were slightly longer than the original slates and the battens had to be replaced; kauri was sourced for the new battens. The verandahs had corrugated iron roofs also replaced slates at this time. There are two ornate corbelled brick chimneys rising to the rear of the roof ridge line.

On the interior, a central passageway or hall runs straight through from the front door to the back door; the hall is divided by an arch, beyond which it is wider. A flight of stairs, with landing half-way up leads to the upper floor. A large landing on the upper floor also has a curved archway. The main rooms lead off the hallways; downstairs are the lounge, sitting room and dining room. The kitchen is accessed from the sitting room or from the dining room via the sunroom. The kitchen and sunroom are separated by an island bench. In the southwest corner are the laundry, a bathroom and storerooms. A short flight of steps leads down from the small storeroom under the stairs to a space beneath the house. Two sets of French doors give access from the formal lounge to the western lean to, used as an office. Upstairs are four bedrooms, bathroom, en-suite bathroom and dressing room.

The walls are either gibbed (some over the original sarking) or tongue and groove. Some ceilings are gibbed, the verandah ceilings are tongue and groove, and the dining room ceiling has 61 centimetre wide board with moulded battens. There is no interior evidence for a fireplace in the rear wall of the room, to match up with the fourth chimney. The stud height is generally about 3.3 metres. The floors are kauri tongue and groove. A window seat has been built into the bay window in the lounge. The dining room has wood-panelled walls; the western extension has tongue and groove timber walls.

The house is 350 square metres on two floors.

There is an underground cellar, believed to be a cool store; it had brick steps leading down into a space approximately 3.3 to 3.6 metres square, with vaulted ceiling and earth floor. A conical structure approximately 0.8 metre wide at the base and tapering to 0.5 metres at top and 0.8 metres tall possibly made of bricks and mortar is believed to form a vent and light source. The date of construction for the cool store is not known. It still exists, partly on the Lake House property and partly on the property to the south; its access is on the southern property. The cool store is excluded from the registration but will be recorded in an NZAA record to be prepared in 2009. The dairy/cool store was not examined other than a cursory surface examination. A rectangular entrance flush with the ground surface is blocked in. According to the previous occupants a flight of brick steps leads down to a subterranean room; according to the son of the adjacent property owner into which the room now extends, the room is approximately 12 feet square, partly within her property and partly in the grounds of Lake House.

Bullock-Webster inventory of furnishings in Lake House in 1886 provides a useful guide to the room layout at that time. Following room headings (in order as per inventory): hall, dining room, drawing room, smoking room, nursery, bathroom, passage and landing, spare bedroom No.2, spare bedroom No. 3, small room or dressing room No.1, large double bedroom No.1, pantry, storeroom, scullery, kitchen, servants room, passage, servants room No.2, laundry, cottage, mans room No.1, mans room No.2, dairy. It is not clear from his list whether the laundry, dairy and men's rooms are separate buildings; the cottage contained nothing but a cross cut saw, but may have included the men's rooms. The kitchen contained a 'cooking range complete' as well as two large tables. Other rooms that must have contained fireplaces, as fenders, fire irons or screens were described, were the dining room, drawing room, smoking room, nursery, spare bedroom No.2 and large double bedroom.

An early photograph shows a large, hipped roof building with tall chimney to the southwest of the rear of the house, and another building heavily glazed in similar style to the western lean to. This may be joined to the house or sit very close to it, between the larger outbuilding and the house. Another early image shows an outbuilding off set from the southeast corner of the house and apparently the same distance from the house as the hipped roof building. The southeast outbuilding is approximately in the position of the subterranean cellar.

In 1928 the only buildings shown on the 10-acre [4 hectare] plot are 'house' [Lake House], a workshop on the southwest boundary at the road and a car shed between that and the house; also another house to the east on Lot 19. There was a long outbuilding at the rear of the house, with a dairy/laundry at the west end, the gardener-handyman's room with fireplace, a garage with attic above, and a fruit storage room with slatted shelves at the eastern end; the latter had a door opening to the east while the other rooms opened to the north. An extensive orchard, vegetable garden and chook run were situated between the outbuilding and the road. Three house cows were grazed in a paddock to the west of the house.

At some time in the 1940s or 1950s a balcony was added to the upper floor at the front of the building, the lower front verandah was given a solid balustrade, the partial wall protecting the front door was removed, a pergola extended out from the front verandah, and hoods erected over most of the windows on the upper floors of the east and north elevations.

By the 1970s the exterior appearance had been altered by the addition of shutters to the upstairs windows, accentuated by dark paint which was also applied to the window hoods. The solid verandah balustrade was removed. A swimming pool was dug into the terrace below and immediately in front of the house; the pool had a low decorative concrete balustrade around it.

At some point during 1974 to 1978 the front central room was divided in two to form the dining room and kitchen (see 1980 plan), and part of the original exterior east wall was removed and replaced by a kitchen bench, so that the new kitchen opened up into the enclosed verandah. The slate roof was replaced with Decromastic tiles.

There were several changes to the building prior to 1979. The window in the rear wall of the dining room (or bar as it was called in 1980, see plan Appendix 3) was enlarged. The 1911 to 1912 photograph shows a similar set of three double hung sash windows, but with two narrower windows either side of a two light window. This work, and the lining of the dining room/bar with wooden panelling, may have been done as early as 1958 by Heaney. The fireplace on the interior wall does not directly back onto the fireplace in the front room. Other undated changes include the reconfiguration of the back porch: the back entrance used to be on the west side of the projecting porch, with a bathroom on the east side, but now the entrance is on the east side. The rear kitchen door was once glazed.

Sometime between 1979 to 2003 the then owners took the top off the southwest chimney. Interior changes included making kauri cornices, architraves and skirtings for the central front room. During this period the section in front of the house was purchased to secure the panoramic view and to ensure the house was not further crowded by housing.

Between 2004 and 2009 the house has been painted and many boards and framing timbers replaced, particularly on the south (rear) elevation where the weatherboards and joists were touching the ground. The house has been re-piled and rewired with subsequent cosmetic changes to ceilings as required. Some of the totara piles have been used to make furniture in the house. The swimming pool was filled in and another excavated to the west side of the house.

[In 2010 further renovations were undertaken to the house, including changes to the eastern side of the house, installation of a new kitchen, removal of the French doors onto the downstairs verandah and replacement with new sash windows.]

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1873 -

1958 - 1959
Interior modifications

Construction Details

Timber frame and weatherboards; slate; brick.

Completion Date

16th November 2009

Report Written By

Lynette Williams

Information Sources

Barbar, 1978

L.H. Barber, The View from Pirongia: the history of Waipa County,Te Awamutu,1978

Gibbons, 1977

P.J. Gibbons, Astride the River: A History of Hamilton, Christchurch, 1977

Norris, 1964

H.C.M. Norris, Settlers in Depression: A History of Hamilton, New Zealand 1875-1894, Auckland, 1964

Stone, 1973

R. C. J. Stone, Makers of Fortune: A Colonial Business Community and its Fall, Auckland, 1973

Day, 1986

P & G Day. A Picture Book of Old Waikato, Auckland, 1986

Cox, 1886

Men of mark of New Zealand, Christchurch, Whitcombe and Tombs, 1886

Cox, 1884

Recollections: Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Christchurch, Whitcombe and Tombs Limited, 1884

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Lower Nothern 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.