120A Weraroa Rd, Levin
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
5th September 1985
Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region
Pt Lot 1 DP 16531 Pt Sec 20
Constructed between 1911 and 1912, the house at 120A Weraroa Road in Levin has architectural and historical significance as a representative example of a substantial villa built in a country town for a prosperous middle class couple, and technical significance for the early use of concrete piles.
The Levin area was one of the last places in the Horowhenua region opened to Pākehā settlement. The completion of the Wellington–Manawatū railway in 1886 fostered the growth of inland settlements such as Levin. The town was supported by farming in its hinterland and became a borough in 1906. English migrant Henry Walkley (1871-1940) had settled in Levin the previous year and opened a drapery shop on Oxford Street, the town’s main road and shopping street. In the summer of 1910 he and Elizabeth Ballingall (1878-1962) of Wellington were married. They returned to Levin and purchased a two-and-a-half-acre section at the north end of Weraroa Road in June. By May the following year they were ready to build a house. Elizabeth’s brother, Wellington timber merchant Alexander Ballingall, was the architect. He is not known to have worked professionally as an architect but may have been familiar with the principles of house design via the timber industry. The builder was William Pringle of Levin. The Walkleys named their house ‘Mylor’ after a village in England that Henry was associated with.
The couple were keen gardeners and the large section was filled with native and exotic trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables, as well as greenhouses filled with the likes of begonias that were entered into flower shows. On his retirement in 1925 Henry Walkley expanded his vegetable garden to half an acre and donated the produce to the Otaki Children’s Health Camp. Henry lived in the house until his death in 1940 and Elizabeth remained until 1952, when she joined their daughter in Hastings. The house stayed in the Walkley family until 1973.
Described by geographer Bryan Saunders as ‘an example of better Edwardian building’, the rusticated weatherboard house has not been significantly altered. The front elevation features a well-proportioned turret on one front corner and a square bay on the other, which are connected by a bullnose verandah. The central front door is reached by four concrete steps, an original feature. Unusually, the original foundations are also concrete; in this period house foundations were more commonly made from wooden blocks. Inside, the original pressed metal ceilings and cast iron fireplaces with timber surrounds and tiles remain intact. In the 1920s the north side of the verandah was converted into an enclosed porch and the south wall of the kitchen was extended. The scullery and pantry were converted into a kitchen in the 1950s, while the existing kitchen became the living room. Though the original section was subdivided, with two houses built on the street front in the 1960s, the house is still surrounded by a generous garden filled with mature native and exotic trees. A garage built in 1928 survives, as do remnants of the original curved driveway and garden paths.
No biography is currently available for this construction professional
1911 - 1912
Verandah converted to an enclosed porch; south wall of the kitchen (now the living room) extended
Scullery and pantry converted into the kitchen; kitchen converted to the living room
9th April 2019
Report Written By
B. Saunders, Manawatu's Old Buildings, Palmerston North, 1987
Doreen, W. F., Sewell T. G., and Chetwin A.H., 1981
75 Years in Levin, K.B.H. Ltd., Levin, 1981
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.
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.