Historical Significance or Value
The Guffie Cottage represents the period in Naseby’s history when the itinerant goldfield’s population was being replaced by a more settled community. The consolidation of the town can be seen in the construction of more permanent residences, such as this cottage.
Aesthetic Significance or Value:
Guffie Cottage, one of a pair of cottages, is recognised for the aesthetic contribution to the Naseby townscape. With its neighbour its diminutive size and close pairing make them significant elements in Naseby, which is notable for its small scale and its historic streetscape.
Architectural Significance or Value:
These cottages are representative of the tiny residential dwellings characteristic of the miner’s cottages in gold rush era Naseby and therefore have architectural significance. They are representative of the typical small cottage dwellings from the Victorian period which, despite some modifications, still provide insight into architecture from this period.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history
The Guffie Cottage reflects representative aspects of New Zealand history, in particular the transition of Naseby from a frontier settlement to a town. These residences are typical of small cottage dwellings which were, as architect Jeremy Salmond writes the basic unit of housing design throughout the nineteenth century.
(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history
The cottages are associated with several individuals of local significance. Walter Inder and William Guffie were business partners and key individuals in the local political scene in Naseby. Later owner Ernest Cutten became a well known figure in the judiciary and his tenure of this cottage is a reminder of his humble start as a lawyer practicing in Naseby.
(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place
The cottages, as a pair, have been identified as attractive buildings in a number of local publications which identify buildings of significance to Naseby’s streetscape. They have also been included within the Naseby Historic Area. They can be said to be held in public esteem.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape
The Inder and Guffie Cottages built on the main street close to other notable historic buildings such as the Strong Cottage, the Masonic Hall, former Courthouse and former Post Office are a significant element in the historical townscape of Naseby. Naseby is notable for its historic townscape (recognised by the Naseby Historic Area), which includes much of the historic town centre. The cottages sit on the main street of Naseby and make an important contribution to the town’s wider historic landscape.
Summary of Significance or Values
This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, e and k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.
Maori had settlements in Central Otago, associated with early occupation. Six were known on Lake Hawea (Te Taweha o Hawea, Mahaea, O tu Purupuru, Turihuka, Te Taumanu o Taki and Pakituhi) and one near Cromwell (Wairere). The moa-rich area was known for camps where moa were butchered and cooked (for example there were large sites in the Hawksburn and Happy Valley areas, as well as the Nevis Valley), and there were quarries used for stone tools in the region of Tiger Hills and Mount Benger. Closer to Naseby, the swampy plains in the Maniototo provided eels and other food resources. There are no recorded Maori archaeological sites in Naseby.
The history of gold mining in Central Otago began with Gabriel Read’s discovery of gold in Gabriel’s Gully, near present-day Lawrence, in 1861. The following year Hartley and Reilly left this gully and travelled further into Central Otago. They spent the winter prospecting in the now-flooded Clutha Gorge between present day Clyde and Cromwell, finding enough gold in the area to travel back to Dunedin and lodge 87 pounds with the Gold Receiver. Gold was quickly discovered in other parts of the region, including places such as Hogburn (renamed Naseby in 1874).
There were an estimated 78 goldfields in Central Otago, boom towns sprung up to service the gold diggings, and disappeared just as quickly as the gold returns for the itinerant miners. Little remains of these places. Historian John Angus writes ‘[w]hen the miners decamped so too did the commercial section of many of the early towns. This pattern was repeated many times, often at remote locations in Central Otago. But some settlements remained, undergoing a sort of metamorphosis to become service centres for the subsequent stages of more stable mining.’
Towns developed haphazardly. Historian John Angus writes that gold mining towns were often an ‘incongruous jumble of handsome stone hotels and public buildings, ornate shop facades often masking bare corrugated iron sides, and ramshackle tin sheds.’ These were often ‘frontier towns’: ‘hotels, illicit sly-grog shops, gambling booths and what Europeans called the ‘opium dens’ of the Chinese. Over the towns there often remained an air of impermanence.’ Naseby was typical of impermanent impromptu development.
This haphazard development was particularly true for Hogburn. The site of the Mt Ida goldfields and the associated township was originally part of a depasturing license, Run 204, called the Sowburn. After the discovery of gold the Otago Provincial Council cancelled the license and proclaimed the Mt. Ida Goldfield. While the original canvas town was set up in the Hogburn Gully, when the official town of Naseby was surveyed it was situated at the mouth of the gully, about a kilometre from the original location. The nascent town was built largely of iron and canvas structures. The suggestion of a new location resulted in angry outbursts and a memorial signed by 350 miners and business people protesting the injustice of such a decision. Businessmen protested that their ability to carry on their trade was dependent on being located near the customers, and there were 150 storekeepers in the existing township, and only 40 allotments surveyed in for businesses in the new survey, let alone that the ground under the new town had not been worked and was likely to be auriferous. Despite objections the town was established in the new location.
The town of Naseby grew steadily with the fortunes of its gold miner population during the 1860s and 1870s. Even in these early years Naseby was seen as the quintessential goldfields town. A correspondent for the Timaru Herald wrote in 1874 that it was ‘one of best specimens, I should say, of a goldfield town; on all sides, in the streets themselves, round the very church which is perched up on a bit of ground only just preserved sacred from the pick and shovel, there are signs of the destructive miner. Acres of land turned over in all directions and the muddy waters of tailraces running down the main thoroughfares, present altogether a curious picture, not the less odd by the funny collection of the small sheet iron shanties which for the most part make up Naseby.’ There were eighteen public houses at this time. Much ground was worked within the township and had been washed away, reoccupied by residences later. There was a lull in mining in the mid 1870s in the period prior to the building of the Mt Ida Water Race and the Hogburn Sludge Channel.
Inder and Guffie’s Cottages
Unlike other areas of the country where a plentiful supply of timber provided for a range of construction methods and materials, Maniototo was treeless and therefore timber had to be sourced from outside the area. In such areas kitset buildings were known, for example the Church of St Alban the Martyr at St Bathans was sent from England as a kitset, timber framed with corrugated iron cladding. Imported houses could be sent ‘in frame’ with the framing cut to length. Imported timbers were also available including Baltic pine.
By 1860 in many places in New Zealand, architect Jeremy Salmond writes, the ‘small timber house had become established as the New Zealand vernacular dwelling’ and the ‘little wooden cottage’ formed the base from which other house designs sprang. In developing towns, where the surveyor had laid out the streets, cottages usually turned their faces to the road, as these two small dwellings do in Naseby.
The small cottage of ‘one or two rooms, with a central door and a window either side of the door, remained the basic unit of ordinary house design throughout the nineteenth century.’ The basic ‘box cottage’ could be modified to provide variation, the most common additions being a verandah or a lean-to. These basic forms in their various combinations led to a wealth of variations and could easily be enlarged. The addition of a verandah was ‘a feature of any house with pretensions to style.’ The box cottages are, as Salmond writes of the Victorian period, ‘an exact impression of their time, and of the lives that were lived in them,’ and in Naseby at this time these two cottages, much as they look small to our eyes were relatively substantial dwellings compared to the primitive residences in which many miners lived. In four room cottages the basic plan was that the two front rooms were the parlour and best bedroom, with the kitchen and another bedroom at the rear. The passage from the front door led to the kitchen at the rear. Outhouses for other services were often in separate buildings out the back of the house.
It has been recorded that these two cottages were kit sets erected for the government as accommodation for the Commissioner for the Goldfields and his assistant in the late 1860s or the early 1870s. Research to date has not been able to confirm this, and it does not seem to match the early land title information for the properties. The Goldfields commissioner was not resident in Naseby. It has also been said that the Baltic pine cottages were shipped out in kitset form in the 1860s. The date seems unlikely because they follow the alignment of the part sections exactly but the kit set theory is possible.
The township of Naseby was surveyed in 1869, and it is likely that the cottages were built after the survey as the building footprints match the section outline. Buildings built before the town was surveyed in 1869 tend not to follow the parcel boundaries. The land on which the cottages are built was first granted to slaughterman Walter Inder in October 1871.
A panorama of Naseby taken around 1877 (the courthouse has been constructed), shows the two cottages sitting alongside each other on the sparsely built Derwent Street. They are identical in form, down to the fencing on the north side of each section. Nearby residences are more haphazardly placed but equally diminutive. The brick chimney for each house marks the boundary of the part sections.
This date of construction links the two cottages to Walter Inder’s sole ownership up to 1878. Walter Inder was one a ‘vigorous group of go ahead men’ who worked with the community to provide services and amenities. Inder was involved in many community institutions, including civic and church affairs. With his brother Samuel he was partners in the firm of Inders Bros., butchers, which had branches in the Maniototo.
Inder transferred part of the land to William Guffie in January 1878, and a new title was issued with both men as registered proprietors, subdividing Section 6 into two parts, with 22 Derwent Street becoming Guffie’s property. William Guffie and Inder were business partners and related by marriage. William Guffie was manager of Inder and Guffie’s Hydraulic Sluicing Works at Mount Burster, close to Naseby.
Scottish born William Guffie (1841-1916), like Walter Inder, was a prominent Naseby miner, businessman and politician. He arrived in Otago in 1863 and settled in Naseby where he and Walter Inder held a claim at Mount Burster (later Buster). Guffie represented Mount Ida riding for around fifteen years from 1879 and served for a long time on the Naseby Borough Council. In the later part of the 1890s Guffie was a director of a pioneering dredging company (Messrs Guffie and Company). The dredge was launched in 1897. Guffie was elected Mayor of Naseby in 1895, and held the position for four years. Guffie continued a long involvement in local and civic affairs until retiring in 1909. In January of that year Guffie’s retirement was marked by a large function, where his wide ranging contribution was recognised.
William Guffie owned 22 Derwent Street until mid 1901 when the sale was forced by mortgage holder Robert Church. At this time Ernest Cargill Cutten (1867-1941) bought the cottage from Church. Cutten, son of W.H. Cutten, proprietor of the Otago Daily Times, and a graduate of Otago University Law School, and judge’s associate to Joshua Williams. He moved to Naseby in the mid 1890s. Cutten was Mayor of Naseby borough in 1904. He was appointed as a Magistrate in 1907 and shifted to Auckland two years later where he had a long legal career. The house remained in Cutten’s ownership until the early 1950s when it was transferred to the executors of his estate and then to Jean Evans. It remained in the Evans family to the early 1970s.
In 1991, after a number of changes of ownership, 22 Derwent was bought by Syd and Betty Broadley. The Broadleys altered the rear of the house. They extended the living/dining area, adding a bank of new windows, and added rimu paneling to the ceilings and the wall. The earth floors in the outbuildings had been concreted by a previous owner. The original earth walls remain but are clad with corrugated iron. The kitchen and bathroom were modernized. The laundry was converted to a bathroom and connected internally with the house.
During the alterations to 22 Derwent Street Mr Broadley noted that the studs were square dowelled into the roof plates, and that the original roofing iron was screwed rather than nailed into place. These building methods have been used to argue that the cottages were constructed as kit sets.
In 1993 the ‘two artisans cottages’ were included in Brian Frazer’s work ‘Naseby Notebook - An elementary guide to Naseby’s historic and scenic features’. Frazer identifies the cottages (and includes a line drawing of the pair) as among the ‘important old structures’ that can be seen on Derwent Street, which has the ‘greatest concentration of both civic and private structures’ in the town. The pair are included in the Naseby Historic Area registered by NZ Historic Places Trust in 1996 (Record No. 7365).
In 2010 22 Derwent Street (known as Barra Dene) is a private home. The two cottages remain an admired pair, a landmark on the main street of this small Maniototo settlement.
These two closely connected cottages sit on the west side of Derwent Street, the main street of the small Maniototo town of Naseby. On the south side of 24 Derwent Street was the original school ground, now occupied by a new lodge style accommodation development. 22 Derwent Street has an empty section on its northern boundary, and a house on its east boundary. Across Derwent Street is the similarly diminutive cottage built by members of the well known Strong family. On the next block are the former Masonic Lodge, Courthouse and the Naseby Post Office. Along with the pair of cottages this is a significant streetscape in Naseby.
The cottages sit on long narrow sections, more typical of an urban setting than the haphazard layout characteristic of Naseby’s residential development. The cottages have the appearance of semi-detached residences. Their walls abut each other and their brick chimney breasts share the boundary line, nestled next to each other. Their outbuildings appear to share a common rear wall.
22 Derwent Street
22 Derwent Street is a single storey single-gable cottage with a veranda across the front and a cat-slide roof at the rear. This cottage is slightly larger than its neighbour, having three small bedrooms, rather than two. The main elevation has a central door and is flanked by a single double-hung sash window on the right side of the door. An early gable addition with a flush bay window (enlarging the front room) is on the left side of the door. It has decorative barge boards and has a large window. There is a four panelled timber front door.
The rear of the house has seen some modification with the living area extended and a bank of timber framed multi-pane windows added. The outbuildings, similar in form to those at 24 Derwent Street, have been incorporated into the cottage and house the kitchen and bathroom.
The interior has seen some modernisation but the original form and layout is readable. There is narrow central corridor, off which there are four rooms (three bedrooms and a living room). The rooms have some timber match-lining and some Pinex linings. The rear living/dining area has the old chimney breast where the coal range formerly sat. A modern woodburner has been installed in this space. A modern kitchen and bathroom has been built into the outbuildings.
some relining, concrete floor in living area and outbuildings, removal of coal range, new windows in living space.
Gable to the street addition
Construction of outbuildings
Baltic Pine, corrugated iron, earth construction, brick
15th December 2010
Report Written By
Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905
Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905
J Hamel, Gold miners and their landscape at Naseby. NZ Forest Service, 1985.
J O'Neill. The History of Naseby. Naseby 1976.
Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen
Helen Thompson, East of the Rock and Pillar: A History of the Strath Taieri and Macraes District, Otago Centennial Historical Publications, Dunedin, 1949
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.