Stony Creek Hut

Black Forest Station, Fairlie

  • Stony Creek Hut. September 2006.
    Copyright: Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai. Taken By: Scott Bowie.
  • September 2006.
    Copyright: Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai. Taken By: Scott Bowie.
  • Interior. September 2006.
    Copyright: Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai. Taken By: Scott Bowie.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7181 Date Entered 23rd June 1994

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Run 317 (CTL CB6B/334), Canterbury Land District and the structure known as Stony Creek Hut thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

City/District Council

Waimate District

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Run 317 (CL CB6B/334), Canterbury Land District

Summaryopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

DESCRIPTION:

In the nineteenth century, sheep farming for the production of wool was of primary importance to the New Zealand economy. The South Island, and in particular Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago, was attractive for the rearing of sheep due to large tracts of open tussock where as the North Island was more heavily bush covered. Agricultural development in the North Island was further slowed by land wars and the related strife.

As stock numbers increased in the 1860s, a boundary keeping system was adopted in South Canterbury. Boundary keepers lived in simple huts such as Stony Creek Hut, patrolling the property boundaries daily and driving the sheep back into their own property.

Stony Creek Hut was originally on Grampian Hills Station. This was one of the first high country runs to be settled. The hut was known as McRae's Hut in the early 1860s after George McRae who was the first boundary keeper to live there. McRae, who worked on various high country runs, eventually bought a Rangitata station which he named Stronescrubie.

Edmund Norman (1820-75), surveyor and well-known artist. Lived at Stony Creek Hut as boundary keeper from February 1862 - January 1864, taking with him cats and dogs for company. It was while he was in this isolated spot that he painted many of his best known early South Canterbury water colours, some of which were later exhibited at English art galleries. He is now recognised as one of South Canterbury's most distinguished artists. He also worked as a surveyor for the New Zealand Company on the drafting of maps of Wellington, the Wairarapa and later Lyttelton.

James Innes, grandfather of the present owner Peter Innes, also lived in the hut and worked as a boundary keeper. In 1911 James Innes acquired the lease of the Stony Creek run. With the advent of cheap wire fencing in the 1870s and with the subdivision of the larger runs, there was no longer the need for boundary keepers.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:

The historical significance of Stony Creek Hut relates to its use as a boundary keeper's hut. Boundary huts appear to have been fairly common during the early years of South Island high country pastoral farming. The boundary keeping occupation was a major contributing factor in the development of the large MacKenzie Country runs. Stony Creek Hut is a surviving example of a building type which was made redundant by technological development and has additional historical significance in that it was occupied by Edmund Norman who is recognised as one of South Canterbury's most distinguished artists.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY:

Stony Creek Hut is a well resolved example of a New Zealand vernacular building type, the hut. Its combination of rectangular plan, symmetrical front facade and pitched roof is typical of many small scale buildings erected in colonial New Zealand. Utilitarian and simple to construct, Stony Creek Hut reflects the difficulty imposed by its remote location in the use of readily available construction materials. It is of technological interest in that the stonework is laid as random rubble in two skins with loose infill between. While the quality of workmanship is somewhat rough as befits an early building in such a remote location, the hut is remarkably sound for its age, and other than the recladding of the roof it has been little altered.

TOWNSCAPE/LANDMARK VALUE:

Stony Creek runs about 100 metres to the north of the hut. The hut itself is situated at the base of a knoll and its construction of local greywacke harmonises with the barren surrounds.

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Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

ARCHITECT/ENGINEER/DESIGNER: Presumably designed by the builder

BUILDER: Henry Ford or his employees

ARCHITECT/ENGINEER/DESIGNER:

Henry Ford was manager of Grampian Hills Station at the time Stony Creek Hut was constructed.

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION:

Stony Creek Hut is a single roomed hut with a rectangular plan and pitched roof. The front (north) facade is symmetrical and has a centrally located door with a single light window on either side. There is another window on the south side of the building and a stove and chimney at the east end.

MODIFICATIONS:

Date not known: Some rafters replaced and the roof (thought to have been originally thatched with Snowgrass) reclad with corrugated iron.

Notable Features

Stonework laid as random rubble in two skins with loose infill between.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1861 - 1862

Construction Details

The walls of the hut are constructed of random rubble greywacke river stones in two skins with loose rubble infill between. The interior is mud plastered and whitewashed. The hut has a wooden floor supported on joists and wooden roof framing with corrugated iron sheathing.

Information Sources

Acland, 1975

L.G.D. Acland, The Early Canterbury Runs, 4th ed., Christchurch, 1975

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation, Inventory of Historic and Archaeological Sites in the MacKenzie Ecological Region, 1989

Wilson, 1991 (2)

J. Wilson, South Canterbury historical guide : including the towns of Timaru, Temuka, Geraldine, Pleasant Point, Fairlie and Waimate, their surrounding country districts, and the Mackenzie Country, Timaru, 1991.

Pinney, 1971

R Pinney, Early South Canterbury Runs, Wellington, 1971

Thornton, 1986

Geoffrey Thornton, The New Zealand Heritage of Farm Buildings, Auckland, 1986

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern 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.