Historical Significance or Value
The place has historical significance for its association with Parnell’s nineteenth-century development, a settlement favoured as a place of residence by many of Auckland’s colonial administrators, and those linked with the founding of Anglican Church administration in New Zealand. The Burrows House can be considered significant as a surviving nineteenth-century residence constructed on the estate bequeathed to Charles Francis Hulme by Colonel William Hulme (1788-1855) Commander, British Troops in New Zealand in 1844-5 and a notable early owner of nearby Hulme Court. The Burrows House also has value for its association with Charles’ wife Helena nee Burrows, a daughter of early CMS missionary and Anglican clergyman the Reverend Robert Burrrows whose adjoining house was located on land leased and later bought from Hulme within the original estate. The place has historical significance for its strong association with retired nineteenth-century Mangonui civil servant and Land Court Judge, William Bertram White who bought the house in 1878, whereupon it remained the White family home for over six decades.
Aesthetic Significance or Value:
Burrows House has aesthetic value for its simple appearance which stems from its symmetrical form, prominent valance verandahs, brick chimneys, externally well-preserved form and for its pleasant garden setting.
Architectural Significance or Value:
Burrows House has architectural significance as a surviving nineteenth-century middle class suburban residence dating to the 1860s or early 1870s in Auckland’s Parnell. It has significance as an externally well-preserved Georgian or English colonial style residence with Regency influences evident in its side lights and fan light surrounding the front door, boxed eaves with decorative brackets, medium-pitch roof, valance verandahs and the louvered window shutters. The place also has value for surviving internal elements including a Regency-style staircase, much of its nineteenth-century ground floor layout, and for the survival of an associated outbuilding that originally housed the residence’s kitchen and washhouse functions.
Social Significance or Value:
The place has social significance for reflecting close social networks among noted Parnell families in the nineteenth century including the Burrows and the Hulmes; and the Lushes and the Whites.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:
Burrows House reflects important aspects of New Zealand history, including the taking up of small estates on the fringe of the administrative capital by colonial elite within a decade or so of Auckland’s founding. The place also reflects the evolution of Parnell as a genteel semi-rural settlement, and as a desirable place of residence for retired civil servants and members of the Anglican clerical community and their families.
(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of theplace:
Burrows House has value as an externally well-preserved example of a mid-nineteenth-century suburban residence of two-storey construction with a surviving out-building. Surviving nineteenth-century elements of the outbuilding may pre-date construction of the house. The design of Burrows House illustrates colonial Regency features including the front door with adjoining side lights and fan light above, the medium pitch roof, valance verandahs, louvered window shutters and the style of the staircase. The design is also of value for the overall survival of many elements of the ground floor layout consisting of a formal entrance hall with a rear corridor opening into three of the four main rooms. The place also has value for surviving nineteenth-century interior features which in addition to the staircase are believed to including some mantelpieces, joinery and board and batten ceilings.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:
The place forms part of an important historical and cultural landscape in Parnell, Auckland’s earliest residential suburb and an early centre of Anglican administration in New Zealand. Parnell contains a large number of historic buildings of nineteenth-century date, including the highest proportion of early surviving residential houses in Auckland and buildings commissioned by the Anglican Church or those who served it. Burrows House is located immediately off St Stephens Avenue in which three significant nineteenth-century Anglican places are located a short distance to the west; and near Hulme Court and Ewelme cottage in Parnell Road and Ayr Street, residences of outstanding heritage significance whose occupants had familial links with Charles and Helena Hulme, the Burrows House or some of its inhabitants.
Summary of Significance or Values
This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, g and k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.
Early history of the site
Prior to European colonisation, Maori occupied numerous sites beside the Waitemata Harbour and used its associated bays for transport, food-gathering and other purposes. The bay which now borders Auckland’s commercial centre was linked with settlement in the Waihorotiu Valley and its adjoining headlands, which have been traditionally connected with Ngati Huarere, Te Waiohua and Ngati Whatua. To the east, the headlands beyond Te Toangaroa / Mechanics Bay included Taurarua / Point Resolution, the site of an old pa. Pits to the northeast of the future site of the Burrows House were also associated with Maori settlement. Traditional sites within the current Auckland Domain nearby include Pukekaroa Hill and Pukekawa Hill.
Ngati Whatua’s offer to transfer a large area of land to the British Crown for the creation of a colonial capital was formally agreed in September 1840. Mataharehare Bay at the foot of current Brighton Road, Parnell, formed the eastern boundary of the land provided for Pakeha settlement.
The Parnell site on which the Burrows House was constructed lay within a four-hectare Crown Grant obtained by Colonel William Hulme (1788-1855) in 1851 as a retired British Officer. Lieutenant-Colonel Hulme of the 96th (Manchester) Regiment had relieved Major Thomas Bunbury (1791-1861) as Commander, British Troops in New Zealand in 1844. The grant (Allotments 11 and 12) fronted then St Stephens Road which branched off Manukau Road (later known as Parnell Road), the route connecting the colonial capital with the port settlement of Onehunga on the Manukau Harbour. On the upper slopes of Manukau Road within a few minutes walk of the city was Hulme Court, the Colonel’s stone residence set in 1.9 hectares of grounds.
Parnell was a separate settlement to the south of the town of Auckland during the nineteenth century and a centre of Anglican administration in New Zealand. From the early years of Auckland’s development as colonial capital, the area was a prestigious residential location. Residents during the 1840s and 1850s included the future premier Sir Frederick Whitaker (1812-91) and Bishop George Augustus Selwyn (1809-78). William Martin (1807?-80), first Chief Justice of New Zealand, and William Swainson (1809-84), New Zealand’s second attorney general, had their residences in Judges Bay.
Following Colonel Hulme’s death in 1855, the St Stephens Road property was held for his only son Charles Francis Hulme (1842-1918), the trustees having the power to lease during his minority. In April 1863, settler Robert Chisholm (1797-1877) took a fifteen-year lease under which he was to pay an annual clear rent of £30, maintain all fences, and had the option to buy for £300 at any time during the lease period. Other than fences, there was no mention of any structures on the property.
Construction of Burrows House (pre-1873)
The date of construction of the two-storey timber residence latterly known as Burrows House (possibly the second or third house erected on the original Crown Grant) is uncertain. Features such as the side glazing adjoining the front door, two-pane sash windows, and a centre-gutter roof suggest an 1860s date or later.
A butcher by trade, Scottish-born Chisholm arrived in Auckland with his family in November 1854 and immediately settled in Parnell where he is listed in the 1860 electoral roll as farmer, Judges Bay Road. An April 1862 advertisement seeking men to fence and cut drains and ditches directs applicants to Mr Chisholm, ‘Hope Park’, Parnell. Reference is made to a burglary of Chisholm’s Parnell house in 1868.
Chisholm assigned the lease to the Reverend Robert Burrows (1813-97) in November 1868, by which time the value had more than doubled to £700. Reference made to ‘all buildings erected’ suggests the existence of a residence on the broader property. Burrows had arrived in the Bay of Islands in 1839. He became the secretary of the Church Missionary Society for the colony in 1854 and continued to supervise the Society’s affairs until 1894. Serving as a priest in Auckland in 1858-68, Burrows was attached to the St Stephens Maori School in Parnell from 1869, a suburb where he had land interests.
A survey plan prepared in 1884 for Burrows who by then owned approximately 1.5 hectares of the original holding, indicates ‘Rev’d A. Burrows Residence’ and ‘Cottage’, to the north of Burrows Avenue. The cottage was possibly the ‘“Prophet’s Chamber” (a comfortable bed and sittingroom built in the garden away from the house)’, mentioned by the Reverend Vicesimus Lush (1817-82) who stayed overnight there in 1875. Neither building survives. According to a descendant of Reverend Burrows, there is no tradition within her branch of the family of Burrows having any association with the residence now known as Burrows House.
There is a possibility that the building known in the late-twentieth century as Burrows House was erected during Chisholm’s occupation. However, the two-storey timber residence appears more likely to have been constructed in 1869-70 by Charles Hulme as his marital home.
Hulme went to England in May 1858, where he joined the British Army. Arriving back in the colony in October 1861, he took part in the New Zealand Wars as an officer of the 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment. Returning to England in 1866 with the Regiment, he retired in July 1867 and with his mother and sister settled permanently in New Zealand in February 1868. In June 1868 Charles Hulme married Helena Harrison Burrows (1844?-1930), a daughter of Reverend Burrows the leaseholder of his property.
Charles Hulme’s place of residence in May 1869 was Remuera, although the birth of the couple’s first child occurred a month earlier at ‘St Stephen’s, Parnell’, perhaps Mrs Hulme’s parents’ residence.
Allotments 11 and 12 were formally transferred to Charles Hulme from his father’s estate in September 1869. The address in the birth notices for two children born to the couple in early January 1871 and August 1874 respectively was ‘St Stephen’s Road, Parnell’, suggesting that a house may have been constructed on the property in late 1869 or 1870.
The two-storey residence was of a Georgian or English colonial style with largely symmetrical facades and a valance wrap-around verandah along four elevations. The centrally-located front door faced towards St Stephens Road, although the layout of the centre-gutter roof reflected an orientation towards the private road (later Burrows Avenue). A fanlight and side lights were a Regency influence generally first added to front doors in the 1860s to brighten the hall. The wide return verandah extending along the northeast and northwest elevations sheltered the ground floor living rooms from harsh sunlight. French casements - particularly popular in the 1860s - opened from the drawing room onto the northwest verandah, from which steps led into the garden. Two-pane sash windows, also known as four light windows (two-over-two) as found on three elevations had begun to replace twelve-light windows by the 1850s.
The shallow-pitch hipped roof with bracketed eaves incorporated a centre gutter and was clad with timber shingles. A solution to roofing larger houses, the centre-gutter design, was an 1860s innovation. Three brick chimneys incorporating simple corbelling served eight fire places and were built on a foundation of stone cemented to form a solid base. The house foundations were evidently Sydney sandstone; and the vererandah outer foundation walls, brick.
A small single-storey structure northwest of the house accommodated a kitchen and washhouse. Partially visible in a circa 1904-5 photograph, the outbuilding had a chimney, lean-to and twelve-light sash windows. Resembling an early Georgian-style colonial cottage, it may have been a pre-existing building on the site.
Internally, the front entrance of the two storey residence opened into an ‘L-shaped’ entrance hall in which the staircase was the prominent feature. A rear corridor served the rooms behind and opened onto a back verandah connecting with the service building. On the ground floor were four large rooms, and upstairs four bedrooms.
In the early 1870s, Charles Hulme worked in the Native Reserves Office on Fort Britomart, but also had a financial interest in the New Zealand Insurance Company and a small shareholding in a Thames gold mining company. In 1874 Burrows purchased approximately 1.5 hectares of the lease area for £900. The larger portion of the holding, fronting St Stephens Road, reverted to Hulme as land owner. Hulme subdivided to create a site on either side of Burrows Avenue in 1874-5, severing the two-storey residence from the St Stephens Road frontage. In 1876, the Hulmes constructed a new residence in Tauranga where the family settled permanently.
The Parnell residence was bought by William Bertram White (1821-1910) in 1878. White had arrived in Port Nicholson in 1842 and was an early civil servant in the colonial government. By 1848 he was the Sub-collector of Customs and Sub-inspector of Police for the port of Mangonui, Northland. Over the course of his career, he served as coroner, registrar, land surveyor, customs and postal officer, returning officer and government agent. In his will, White is referred to as ‘Retired Native Land Court Judge’. Born in France, the son of a retired Royal Navy officer, White married Eliza Chitty Clendon (d.1908) a daughter of James Reddy Clendon (1800-72) of Rawene.
The White family is said to have moved to Auckland and Burrows Avenue in 1873, although White was evidently still the Resident Magistrate and Government Commissioner at Mangonui in June 1876.
Martin Lush (1854-93) - a son of Vicesimus Lush the Church of England clergyman, diarist and owner of nearby Ewelme Cottage - married the Whites’ daughter Caroline in 1882. The Reverend Lush makes reference to a visit to the Whites’ house in 1881, but does not mention it as being the former Burrows’ residence - which he might have been expected to if it was the place where he had stayed overnight in 1875.
Physical alterations made during the late-nineteenth century may have included a small conservatory erected off the verandah. At an unknown date a sash window to the west of the front door was replaced by a square bay. A similar alteration was made on the northwest side of the residence. A small room at the southwest corner of the house is said to have been Mr White’s smoking room where he relaxed with friends.
Following the death of Mrs White in 1908 and her husband two years later, the residence remained the home of two or more of their daughters including Kate Sarah White and Fanny Edith White. The shingle roof was replaced at an unknown date. The house centrally located on its site with outbuildings appears on a circa 1913-1920 plan of Parnell.
The property with sea views was unsuccessfully offered for sale for £4000 in 1920. Part of the garden to the north was sold in 1921. The two-storey residence containing nine rooms had been reticulated with electricity by 1932 the year Burrows Avenue was formally declared a public road. In 1935, the dwelling was noted in council valuation records as being 70 years old (suggesting a possible construction date of 1865). To accommodate further subdivision in 1939, the single-storey service block containing the washhouse was re-sited behind the house, by which time a kitchen and bathroom occupied the rear verandah.
Ending six decades of White ownership, the property was sold in 1941 to widow, Constance Tyrie - later Mrs Beehan. By 1945-6 the residence was in two flats, one on each floor. A bathroom may have been developed upstairs at this time. The ground floor was converted into three tenancies in 1962 bringing the number of households to four, work which may have included the installation of false ceilings. The conservatory was demolished and a sun porch was created in 1964.
A carport constructed in 1962 was replaced in 1971, two years after the property changed hands, and was later supplemented by additional covered parking. During the 1970s, the front garden was enlarged by the re-purchase of some of the land alienated in 1939, a summer house was erected, and the house was gradually restored. Timber fretwork may have been removed from the verandah posts at this time. Permission was granted for use of part of the house as an antiques shop in 1982. The verandah balustrades were replaced and substantial changes were made to the nineteenth-century outbuilding (later part of a self-contained flat) including re-roofing, replacement of window and part or all of an external wall, and the installation of French doors.
In new ownership in 1984, French doors provided a new access from the northwest room of the house, onto the north verandah. Internal alterations included the conversion of two bedrooms into one bedroom with a large dressing room and a bathroom.
The house remains a private residence.
The Burrows House is located in Parnell, an inner city suburb to the east of the Auckland Central Business District (CBD). Parnell is a notable early colonial settlement, incorporating a number of places linked with the early Anglican Church in New Zealand and the largest surviving concentration of early colonial houses in Auckland City. Significant places linked with the Anglican Church include St Mary’s Church (record no. 21, Category I historic place), St Stephen’s Chapel and Graveyard (record no. 22, Category I historic place), Selwyn Court (record no. 23, Category I historic place), Selwyn Library (record no. 24, Category I historic place) and the former Deanery (record no. 108, Category I historic place). Noted early residential dwellings in Parnell include Hulme Court (record no. 19, Category I historic place), Kinder House (record no. 110, Category I historic Place), the house of stonemason Benjamin Strange (record no. 2638, Category II historic place), and Ewelme Cottage (record no. 15, Category I historic place).
Burrows House is located in the eastern part of Parnell. Burrows Avenue is a short, narrow cul-de-sac that slopes down to the north from St Stephens Avenue. The former Deanery, Selwyn Court, Selwyn Library and the Arts and Crafts-style Neligan House (record no. 103, Category I) are located a short distance to the west on St Stephens Avenue. The immediate surrounds of the property are residential and encompass a variety of houses and flats of different styles and ages. Other than the Burrows House, the earliest dwelling appears to date from the early decades of the twentieth-century.
The information in this and the following section of the report has been complied from archival plans and images, a recent aerial image, street views from Google Earth, and observation from the street.
The approximately rectangular site incorporates an irregularly-shaped area to the northeast and occupies an area of 1426 square metres. The site is located slightly over half way along Burrows Avenue and slopes down to the north and east. Part of the house is obliquely visible from upper Burrows Avenue and St Stephen’s Avenue, but the residence is otherwise obscured by deciduous trees.
The property incorporates a large two-storey timber house largely screened from Burrows Avenue by a creeper-covered, modern block wall and by mature trees which appear to be twentieth-century plantings. The gatepost bears the name of the house in cement plaster lettering. A former Auckland City Council plaque identifies the property as Burrows House, a heritage place.
Between the house and the front boundary is a formal garden of late twentieth-century design. A 1970s picturesque timber summer house with a tent roof is located at the south end. The residence occupies a slightly elevated site overlooking the garden.
A driveway leads from the front gate, along the southern boundary to a paved courtyard surrounded on three sides by linked buildings: the residence; the former nineteenth-century outbuilding; and buildings of late twentieth century date.
The residence is a two-storey, timber weatherboard Georgian or colonial style villa. The nineteenth-century dwelling largely retains its square, symmetrical footprint. Located off the west elevation is a small linking structure with a hipped roof which obliquely abuts the nineteenth-century outbuilding. Adjoining the outbuilding is an attached L-shaped structure, part of which has a verandah and provides covered parking, which returns along the north and west boundaries.
The colonial-style residence is clad with weatherboards and incorporates Regency influences such as side lights adjoining the front door with a fan light above, boxed eaves with brackets, medium-pitch roof, verandahs and louvered window shutters. The house has a hipped, corrugated metal roof with a centre gutter. The pyramid roof of the nineteenth-century outbuilding is also of corrugated iron. The house has three brick chimneys with shaped tops that incorporate rudimentary corbelling.
The Burrows House has similar northeast and northwest facades linked by a single-storey valance verandah. A former verandah on the southwest side of the house has largely been incorporated into the internal floor layout. The single-storey valance verandahs along three sides of the house have Union Jack balustrades.
Internally, the Burrows House consists of two floors connected by a staircase located within a rectangular entrance hall in the southern part of the building.
The main entrance to the residence is centrally located in the southeast façade and opens into a central hall.
On the ground floor, three of the four main rooms are accessed from a rear corridor orientated at right angles to the entrance hall. An arch-headed doorway between the hall and the corridor evidently incorporates a fanlight with radiating glazing bars.
Off the north side of the corridor is the kitchen, a dining room and a drawing room. The latter two rooms open onto a north-facing verandah and have an interconnecting door. The drawing room has a further doorway into a third living room (former morning room). Both of these rooms have an east-facing bay window overlooking the garden. A fourth room in the southwest portion of the house opens into the former smoking room.
At least two of the downstairs rooms appear to have their original mantelpieces. The hall, dining room and the former morning room appear to retain board and batten ceilings. In 1989, deep moulded wooden skirtings, evidently made in two pieces, were still in place on the ground floor.
Within the south side of the house is a hall staircase of Regency open string style with balusters resting on the stair treads. It rises to a landing from which the stairs continue at a right angle up to the first floor. Available floor plans suggest the presence of a bathroom and three habitable rooms, one of which has an ensuite bathroom and large dressing room. Some upstairs rooms appear to retain their original fire surrounds, board and batten ceilings and joinery including skirting boards.
The timber framed, weatherboard structure has a pyramid roof of corrugated iron. The layout of the building which formed part of a self-contained flat in the 1980s is not known. Extensive modifications raise uncertainty as to the extent of survival of early joinery and fixtures, although elements of the original building are believed to survive.
Single-storey outbuilding containing kitchen and washhouse
Construction Type Construction Period Start Year Start Year Circa Finish Year Finish Year Circa Description
Single-storey outbuilding re-sited behind house
Conversion of residence into two flats, bathroom possibly provided upstairs
Conversion of residence into four flats
Outbuilding converted to self-contained flat
Sandstone piles (house); brick foundation walls (verandahs), timber construction and weatherboard cladding, metal roof (house and outbuilding)
11th April 2011
Report Written By
Richard Apperley, Robert Irving and Peter Reynolds, A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture: Styles and Terms from 1788 to the Present, Sydney, 1989
Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1902
Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.2, Christchurch, 1902
Frances Porter (ed.), Historic Buildings of New Zealand: North Island, Auckland, 1979
Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen
A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Mid Northern Region 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.