205 Aro Street, Aro Valley, Wellington
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
5th September 1985
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Pt Lot 44 DP 710 (CT 604218), Wellington Land District and the building known as House thereon.
Pt Lot 44 DP 710 (CT 604218), Wellington Land District
The house at 205 Aro Street is an important representative and authentic example of a modest workers’ cottage. Simple in its materials and design, it makes good use of a restricted site. Little exterior change means it has retained its architectural values and makes an important contribution to the wider historic landscape of workers’ cottages and larger villas that line Wellington’s Aro Street.
The houses at 205 & 207 were built by George Baker, a well-known builder and developer in Wellington, circa 1897. Baker was responsible for a number of developments in Mount Victoria and Te Aro, including the twin cottages located at 125 & 127 Aro Street.
Title to Lot 44 DP 710 was in the name of George’s son William George Baker, a noted landscape artist. The property was subdivided and the title to part of Lot 44 was transferred to Thomas Lavin, a cook, in 1924 (207 Aro Street) and the other part of Lot 44 was transferred to his wife, Susan Lavin, in 1927 (205 Aro Street). Thomas and Susan lived at 205 Aro Street; Thomas passed away in 1928 and Susan transferred the property in 1935. The land was transferred a number of times over the years to a carpenter, labourer and scrap buyer before it was gazetted for university purposes in 1975.
The house is an intact and representative example of a type of housing that dominated New Zealand construction. Designed and built by builders, the materials of native timber and corrugated iron were accessible, cheap and provided flexibility for future alterations or additions. Jeremy Salmond writes that “… the little wooden 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. In colonial New Zealand wealth, not class, decided how people were housed.”
The house at 205 Aro Street has historic, architectural, and aesthetic values. The house continues to serve a residential purpose and its form and structure adds to our understanding of how people lived at the turn of the twentieth century; the social and economic level of the residents being reflected in this small single-gabled house with a lean-to at the rear.
George Baker was a well-known builder and developer in Wellington. Baker was responsible for a number of developments in Mount Victoria and Te Aro, including the twin cottages located at 125 & 127 Aro Street, and the cottages at 205 & 207 Aro Street.
Source: Upgrade Reports for 205 and 207 Aro Street, Wellington, Natasha Naus NZHPT, 2013
10th April 2013
Report Written By
Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1897
Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.1, Wellington, 1897
Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen
Mt Victoria Historical Society News
Mt Victoria Historical Society News
Newman, Joanna, ‘The Baker Family’, in Mt Victoria Historical Society News, No. 42, August 2007. URL: http://mvhs.wellington.net.nz/Publications/Newsletter42.pdf (accessed 30 August 2012).
A fully referenced Upgrade Report is available from the Central Region office of NZHPT.
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.