287 Muritai Road, Eastbourne

  • Glenwood.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Helen McCracken. Date: 14/10/2001.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 3577 Date Entered 28th June 1984


City/District Council

Hutt City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 75547


James Bennie, a notable Wellington architect, and E. C. Farr designed this unusually eclectic mixture of traditional bay villa and Queen Anne-styled house. J. C. Brown built the house in 1904 for Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison (c.1866-1904), a well-known lawyer and captain of the New Zealand Maori team of 1888, the first New Zealand rugby team to tour Britain.

While the building was still under construction Ellison was hospitalised at Porirua Lunatic Asylum. It was agreed to sell the house and part of the property to a Pauatahanui farmer, Joseph Blackey. Ellison died before the transaction was completed and it was not until 1905 that the house and 34 acres [13.79 hectares) were transferred to Blackey.

The house remained in the ownership of the Blackey family for 43 years, and the area became known as Blackey's Gully. Between 1917 and 1920 the house was leased to Dr H.E. Owen, who set up a part time surgery in the house. Later occupants included: Richard Geary de Gauchy, the Assistant Manager of the Port Shipping Line; the New Zealand film producer Roger Mirams (who purchased the property in 1953); and Monsieur Eugene Louis Lestocquoy, Croix de Guerre, Trade Commissioner for France (who leased the house from Mirams from 1956 to 1960). The house has undergone a number of alterations, some of which were carried out to the plans of the architect Bernard Johns in the 1950s. Part of the land has been subdivided for housing.

Glenwood was one of the first more substantial homes to be built in the eastern bays, and is architecturally interesting for Bennie and Farr's unusual combination of Edwardian bay villa and Queen Anne styles. The house's interior features a keyhole shaped hall, ending in an eight-sided room with a high-domed stained glass ceiling. A fountain that was once the centrepiece of this octagon has been moved outside. The house is of considerable historical interest for its association with Thomas Ellison, for whom the house was built, and the long-time Eastbourne identities, the Blackey family. Glenwood has also had a number of other interesting occupants.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Bennie, James

Bennie was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, immigrated to New Zealand in 1880 and settled in Brunnertown near Greymouth. In the early 1890s he attended the Working Men's College in Melbourne, Australia, where he studied under artist and architect Thomas Searell. On completion of his studies he returned to Greymouth and set up in practice as an architect. In 1902 Bennie moved to Wellington and went into practice with E C Farr before establishing his own practice in 1905.

Some of Bennie's designs include the Albermarle Hotel, Wellington (1905), the Carnegie Library at Levin (1910), the Karori Methodist Church (1912), and the Oriental Bay Tea Kiosk (1912, demolished 1978). He designed a number of theatres including Kings (1910), Queens (1916), the Crown (1916) and Paramount (1917), all in Wellington and was also responsible for the design of many houses including the Wedge, Glenbervie Terrace (1906) and Bennie house, Salamanca road (1907) both in Wellington. He also had an interest in prefabricated house design.

Bennie was an inaugural member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, founded in 1905, and was later elected a Fellow. He retired in 1935 and his son Malcolm took over the Wellington practice.

[Source: an advertisment in the Evening Post, Volume LXIV, Issue 58, 5 September 1902, Page 7 confirms that Bennie entered into partnership with E C Farr on 14 August 1902].

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

The house is bascially a single-storey Edwardian bay villa with a two-storey octagonal turret. Queen Anne- style features are the asymetric shape of the buildign, the turret, and the tall, ornate brick chminey.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1904 -

Removal of fountain from entrance hall

Included construction of sun-room, remodelling of kitchen, and portion of main verandah enclosed

1971 -
Included removal of sun-room, and conversion of a bedroom to a bathroom

2000 -
Removal of stone arches, and construction of garage

Completion Date

15th August 2001

Report Written By

Helen McCracken

Information Sources

Beaglehole, 2001

Ann Beaglehole and Alison Carew, Eastbourne a history of the eastern bays of Wellington Harbour, Eastbourne, 2001 [Historical Society of Eastbourne]

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Atholl Anderson, Thomas Rangiwahia Ellison (1866-68?-1904), in Claudia Orange (ed), Volume Two, Wellington, 1993, pp.131-132

Hutt City Council

Hutt City Council

History of Glenwood, 287 Muritai Road Eastbourne, Historic buildings file (ref. Glenwood)

Other Information

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.