Historical Significance or Value
The Board's struggle for independence from the Auckland Hospital Board foreshadowed the Waikato Region's separation from the Auckland Region, and on a larger scale, exemplified the perception of the separation of Auckland from everything south of the Bombay Hills.
The Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) was the first purpose built premises of the Society. The organisation grew significantly during its 35 years of operation at Hood Street, from a local to a regional body, with a Board that played the pivotal role in the development of health services in the Waikato.
As observed by historian, Peter Gibbons, the Waikato Hospital Board was the most important 19th century development for Hamilton, with health care becoming and remaining one of Hamilton's biggest industries. The main Waikato hospital drew trade to Hamilton, provided local employment, brought new skills into the community and gave the town the extra status that came from having a hospital - especially a well equipped hospital as this one rapidly became.
The change of use from administrative office, to a relatively small retail enterprise to a café and bar reflects a national trend of building reuse and more specifically the change of the South End of Hamilton's central business district.
The business of inventor James Treloar represents an early example of Hamilton's association with agricultural innovation.
Architectural Significance or Value:
The 1911 renovation, following fire, of the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) represents one of Hamilton architect John Willing Warren's early designs for the Waikato Hospital Board, perhaps the only one still standing.
The place is of social significance as what has been described as the 'first Social Welfare Centre in Hamilton'. The Waikato Hospital and Charitable Aid Board was responsible for granting relief to people in need as well as administering to its charities (such as the Old Men's Refuge) from the premises.
The Waikato Hospital and Charitable Aid Board represents an important provider of high quality advanced training and employment of women in New Zealand during the period it occupied the building, reflecting the attitudes and morals of the day through the wide variation in pay rates between the male doctors and the female nurses, for example. It continues to be a large employer in Hamilton.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:
The Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) reflects the development of secular charitable aid organisations and of the development of regional hospital boards. It also reflects the development of Waikato as a region in its own right, separate to Auckland Region.
James Treloar represents an early example of Hamilton's association with agricultural innovation and provides a link with the development of the dairy industry, particularly the mechanisation of milking, both regionally and nationally.
(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:
The Waikato Hospital and Charitable Aid Board was made up of influential members of the Waikato community, including a number of local government councillors. The decisions made in the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) influenced the economy of the region, the health and wellbeing of the region's people and the growth of Hamilton's population. It provided one of the few acceptable occupational choices for women of the time, and was one of the few advanced education providers in Hamilton during the early part of the twentieth Century.
James Treloar was not only an influential inventor and businessman, but a member of the Hamilton Borough Council.
(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place:
The building is already included in an architectural heritage trail of 'Hamilton's Historic Southend', and was included in a program to teach school students about local historic heritage.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:
The Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) contributes to the streetscape values of Hood and Victoria Streets - the older part of Hamilton West's central business district - similar to the historic precincts seen in the Pollen Street, Thames historic area and the Jackson Street, Petone. Its townscape includes a number of scheduled and/or registered historic places, In particular, it is right beside the Category II Grand Central Private Hotel (Former), a few doors away from Petal's Flower Shop (Former), (project x deficient registration currently being researched) and clearly visible from both the Category I Bank of New Zealand Building (Former) and the Category II Post Office (Former). Within this area, the original part of the building is one of the few small single storey structures from the early Hamilton central business district. The building is already included in an architectural heritage trail of 'Hamilton's Historic Southend'.
The site also forms part of the early European planned militiaman settlement, being a part of a one acre Crown Grant in 1867, and not far from the redoubt camp site. Thus any future disturbance of the soil may provide archaeological evidence about the development of early Hamilton.
Summary of Significance or Values:
This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, e, k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.
The Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) was built in Hood Street, Hamilton West, in 1903 for the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) to use as its base in response to their requirement for their own office - previously they had held their monthly meetings at the Hamilton Council Chambers. The building continued to fill this role until 1938 by which time larger premises were required. The building subsequently followed the pattern of other buildings in the immediate neighbourhood of a retail/commercial nature, with successive occupants until the final stage of its use, again reflecting a local neighbourhood trend towards recreational use as a bar and café.
Hamilton was established as a colonial settlement in 1864 as a planned settlement of the Waikato Militiamen on what was Ngatiwairere land. Hood Street was at the south end of Hamilton West in an area of one-acre sections close to smaller allotments planned for commercial and retail development, and close to the militia redoubt and camp. Hood Street was once the main thoroughfare into Hamilton from the southwest, a direct route from the Waikato Hospital. The strategic importance of the street was recognised in 1875 by the Bank of New Zealand, who purchased the corner section for the erection of a substantial bank building, not far from the river wharves at the southern end of Great South Road (Victoria Street) and handy to the administration offices which had clustered around the military redoubt. By 1918 Hood Street boasted several retail buildings including a laundry, an iron shop cum garage to one side of the Office of the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former), and a large two-storey guest house, the Grand Central Private Hotel, on the other. Hamilton developed as a service centre for a growing rural economy.
The Waikato Hospital Board was established in 1886 after something of a revolt against Waikato funds being used to support the Auckland Hospital Board that largely spent the money in Auckland, benefiting very few Waikato residents. The leader of the revolt was the Mayor of Hamilton, Mr W.A. Graham, who had a great belief in regional autonomy and the ability of the Waikato to be self-sufficient. The first chairman of the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) was W.A. Graham himself. The Waikato Hospital opened in 1887 with just seven patients, half a kilometre from the centre of town at the top of a gentle hill. Historian Peter Gibbons notes:
Of all the regional organisations created in the nineteenth century, the Waikato Hospital Board was the one which had most importance for Hamilton. Health care became, and thereafter remained, one of Hamilton's biggest industries. The main Waikato hospital, and for many years the only Waikato hospital, was established in Hamilton. The hospital drew trade to Hamilton, provided local employment, brought new skills into the community and gave the town the extra status that came from having a hospital - especially a well equipped hospital as this one rapidly became.
The number of patients rapidly increased and the number of buildings expanded, partly in response to gaining a good reputation for its medical care. In 1902 the Board started searching for a place for their offices, as they had been meeting in the Borough Council Offices. The Hood Street site was one of four considered by the Board, and it was selected on the basis that it was 'on the direct road to the Hospital and about 80 yards from the B.N.Z. and about 100 yards from the Post Office and is in area and price' considered acceptable. In fact it was the cheapest of the properties explored, reflecting something of a tendency of the board to select the lowest price, even if that meant that the funds were not always to go to local businesses. The Board acquired the land in 1903 from Mr Young for £100. It had previously been part of a 1 acre Crown Grant to Hellelwell in 1867.
At the February 1903 Board meeting, it was resolved to build the offices in brick as per plan. The following month it was decided to accept John P Murray's tender to construct the offices for £437, the lower of the two tenders received. Murray advertised as being a bricklayer and builder based in Hamilton.
On 6 August 1903 the Board met for the first time in their new offices. The offices were described in the local press as 'spacious' and, rather optimistically, 'likely to meet the requirements of the board for all time'. It was also described as being in ‘a most convenient position for members travelling either by road or rail.' According to Hamish Steven, ‘the board office was the first Social Welfare Centre in Hamilton.'
At the time of the first meeting in their own offices, the Board was receiving income from Piako County Council, Waikato County Council, Waipa County Council, Raglan County Council, Hamilton Borough Council, Te Aroha Borough Council as well as a central government subsidy and patient fees. The surgeon's report stated that the hospital had 19 male patients and 13 female patients at the time, with the female wards being very crowded, with three cases having to be postponed. ‘Relief' was increased to a Huntly man by one shilling, giving him a grand total of five shillings per week. The Clerk had also made arrangements for a cook at the Old Men's Refuge which was run under the auspices of the Waikato Hospital and Charitable Aid Board.
By October, the Board's Secretary was instructed to contact ‘Mr Mahoney Architect of Auckland with a view of improving the acoustic properties of the Board Room,' as echo was a problem. This suggests that Mahoney was the original architect (simply referred to as ‘the architect' in the Board minutes up until then), most likely Thomas Mahoney (ca.1854-1923).
1903 was also the year that Miss Cogswell of Waikato Hospital passed top of New Zealand in the national examination for nurses, which had been introduced along with registration in 1901. One of the Board's regular duties was to consider the list of applicants for probationer nurse positions. The hospital was the earliest place to continuously offer advanced training in Hamilton and became a large employer of women in the region.
Late in 1903 the Board Secretary, C.J.W. Barton, resigned his position after being elected Mayor of Hamilton. His successor as Secretary cum House Steward was the former Raglan County Clerk and Engineer, W.I. Conradi. Both the Board Secretaries and the Board Members tended to be influential members of local society generally, not just through their Board activities.
A fire in March 1911 destroyed many of the Board's records prior to 1901. The building was sufficiently damaged that the Board reverted to meeting in the Borough Council Chambers for several months, with a special meeting on 16 March attended by the architect John Willing Warren (1859-1936), who reported on the cost of repairs and alterations to the chambers and was given authority to put the plans into effect. In July the architect was given the authority to finish the offices in Keen's Cement. Warren was a fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, based initially in Stratford but spending most of his career in Hamilton. He designed a wide variety of buildings including the First Methodist Church, Gisborne (1876), Everybody's Building, Hamilton (1909), livery stables for Dalgleish & McDonald (1910), dairy factories in Cambridge and Eureka. Two of the most significant surviving Waikato examples of Warren's work are Turangawaewae Maori Parliament Building, Ngaruawahia, Category I # 4170 and Greenslade House, Category I # 4163. The Office of the Waikato Hospital Board and Charitable Aid Society (Former) project was among the first he carried out for the Board, and at some point he was appointed the Waikato Hospital Board Architect, being included in the 1926 portrait of the Board.
Mr H. M. Hollow, builder, of Otahuhu gave the lowest tender (£199-10) to carry out Warren's plans for the repairs and renovations, and had his tender accepted by the board. This may be H. Martin Hollow who was listed in Wise's New Zealand Post Office Directory as being at the sash and door factory in Taihape the year before.
In 1921 the Board was instructed by the Health Department to drop the words ‘Charitable Aid' from their name, becoming the Waikato Hospital Board, however the name on the building's façade apparently remained the same. The directive does not indicate a cessation of such aid activities, rather that at this time the term ‘charitable aid' was unfashionable. The board was advised by the Health Department to describe such activities as ‘social welfare' or ‘relief'.
By 1 August 1935 the Board had decided to move offices due to the increased workload, increased staff numbers and the growing volume of records and office technology such as typewriters and a Gestetner duplicator. In 1937 Waikato Hospital Board celebrated its golden Jubilee and was featured in a one page spread in the Waikato Times. A comparison of Waikato Hospital with other hospitals around the country at this time showed that the hospital was one of the six largest hospitals in the country and that it compared favourably in terms of administrative costs, demonstrating in various ways ‘the efficient manner in which the board conducts its affairs.' At this time it served the most extensive hospital region in the country, with the fourth largest population. Its staff now numbered four hundred and three, with the Hamilton hospital alone averaging 300 patients per day. Perhaps as a signal of its growth, an increase of liaison with central government and an increase in red tape, the new offices were not built and occupied until 1938. On 21 April 1938 the Board met in its new offices in Marlborough Place, apparently designed by Edgecumbe & White, a firm associated with Warren's practice. In May the Hood Street property was leased to Treloar Brothers Limited. Treloar Brothers Limited was registered as a private company in March 1931, and was not struck off the Companies Register until October 1985.
James Treloar (d. 1945) was the inventor of the Treloar Milking Machine, and the principal partner in the Treloar Milking Machine Company and a Hamilton Borough Councillor from 1941 until his death in 1945. He had been applying for dairy milking related patents since at least 1909. Wellington's Evening Post reported on a combined show that included a busy Joseph Nathan and Co. stand of milking equipment.
‘A feature of Nathan's stand is the ‘Treloar' Milking Machine with releaser. This machine is manufactured at Hamilton, and the agency for Manawatu and Hawkes Bay has been accepted by J. Nathan and Co., Ltd., their acceptance being in itself a guarantee to the farmer that the machine will do all that the makers claim for it and will have no harmful effects upon the cows. Its triangular outside barred teat-cup is a novel feature in this machine, and the agents are in receipt of many letters from users stating that it milks more quickly and cleanly than other machines that have been used, and after having used it for two years it has no ill effects whatever upon the cows.'
Plans for a Treloar milking machine factory by the architect F.C. Daniell date from 1916, suggesting expansion of the business around this time.
During the late 1930s there were perhaps seven or eight manufacturers of milking machines in New Zealand, mostly made by farmer-inventors from Taranaki, but Hamilton was represented by Treloar, described as a ‘very inventive man', even to the extent of having a steam plant for farmers who had no electricity. He used the full section - 17a and 17b, with his office, shop and factory all being in Hood Street. All the local milking machine manufacturers displayed their wares at the Waikato Winter Show which was of equal standing to the Mystery Creek Field days. By the late 1950s through the influence of people such as Whittlestone and Phillips at the Ruakura Research Station, milking machines were increasingly standardised and by 1997 there were only two brands available, both imported.
In 1957-1959 The National Dairy Association of New Zealand took over the lease of the building, with the lease returning to the Treloar Brothers at the end of that period. However in Wises New Zealand Post Office Directory Treloar Milking Machines was consistently listed as the occupier until at least 1959, suggesting a close working relationship between the organisations. While it is unclear who was operating a business out of the premises between 1959 and 1963 (if anyone), Treloar Brothers Ltd. renewed their lease for another 21 years.
Treloar was one of the early Waikato dairy industry inventors who contributed to the formation of Hamilton's view of itself as a prosperous hub of agricultural innovation, expressed in the early twenty-first century through Innovation Park at Ruakura, and the presence of Gallagher's headquarters, for example.
In April 1963 Hamilton Lighthouse was established with Rolly Coombes as manager, operating from the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former). A 1962 photograph shows the building with the two front sash windows intact, but later photographs taken during the time the Hamilton Lighthouse was operating from the premises show the sash windows replaced with a large single pane. The parapet finials and chimney stack(s) were also removed by this time. Hamilton Lighthouse relocated from Hood Street in 1966 to Victoria Street, Hamilton. The family business is still in operation over 40 years later, in Tristram Street, Hamilton.
In 1983 the lease was finally transferred from Treloar Brothers Ltd, starting a period of a rapid turnover (every 2-3 years) of the leaseholders. About 1985 Wilsons Sports Centre started operating out of the building, remaining until at least 1989. The business was owned by Vern Wilson. The current owner of the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) remembers visiting the shop to buy his fishing licenses, and that the shop sold diving equipment as well as guns which were kept in locked cabinets in the rear lean-to. Photographs of signage in 1989 indicate that ‘Hamilton's school of scuba diving' operated out of the premises as part of Wilson's business. The building had a security roller door fitted at this time. The detail of the Waikato Museum of Art and History photograph number 1253 appears to be from this period, with the word [gun]smith visible.
Some time between 1989 and 1994 the premises were apparently briefly sublet by Dr Wilson who owned the former Grand Central Private Hotel next door. In 1992 the land ownership transferred to the Waikato Area Health Board, then two years later under the Clause of the first schedule of the Health Reform (Transitional Provisions) Act 1993, Health Waikato Limited was registered as proprietor of the land.
In 1994 approval was given to develop, restore, reconstruct and renovate the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former). The former Bradley's panelbeater's building to the rear was demolished to create a garden and courtyard area plus parking for Digger's Coffee House and Bar, which was open by late 1995. The alterations included reinstating the twin sash windows recycled from another building after being closely matched to the original sash windows remaining along the side wall. The concrete block lean-to was replaced with a more sympathetic brick structure.
In 1996 the property ownership was transferred to Her Majesty the Queen, then immediately to the Tainui Maori Trust Board, probably as part of their 1995 Waitangi claim settlement. In 1997 ownership was transferred to Tainui Corporation Limited. The property continued to be leased out to Phil Pavich and Richard Dyer, who were operating Digger's Café and Bar. However, in 1999 Tainui sold the property to the current owners, George and Cheryl Williamson, their son Craig Williamson, and Nigel Smith, and leased to Digger's Café and Bar Limited.
In 2000 Vaughn Priddy of Concepts Architectural Design was employed to design alterations and an upper floor addition at the back. The architectural plans suggest that the building work was carried out by Robinsons. In 2007 a building consent was issued to cover the courtyard and add a first floor balcony on the 2000 extension jutting over the courtyard on the Loaded Hog side of the building, designed by architect Murray Price. Diggers has been operating for over ten years out of the premises, and continues to be a popular pub in the south end of Hamilton city. It sports two historic photographs of the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) building on the wall across from the bar.
Thomas Mahoney (ca. 1854-1923), architect.
J. P. Murray, bricklayer and builder.
John Willing Warren (1859-1936), architect.
Mr H. M. Hollow, builder.
Vaughn Priddy, Concepts Architectural Design.
Murray Price, architect.
The Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) is located within the older part of Hamilton West's central business district as emphasised by its situation amongst a number of registered and/or scheduled heritage buildings, including the Grand Central Private Hotel (Former) built in 1914 (Category II, # 5310). Within its townscape of Victoria/Hood Streets, the two commercial buildings cited as influencing the decision to build and locate in Hood Street in 1903, still survive; are both registered and remain clearly visible from the Office of the Waikato District Hospital and Charitable Aid Board (Former) building. They are the Bank of New Zealand Building (Former) (Category I # 768) and the Post Office (Former) (Category II # 5299). Within this Hamilton West area, the original part of the building is one of the few surviving, small, single storey structures from the early central business district.
The original design was a small false-fronted single storey office building, using a rectangular floor plan with a short façade. It originally shared a brick wall with the neighbour, and it is still attached to a building on one side, albeit a more modern one. An interior wall approximately one-third of the way back divided the office (smaller front area) from the board room at the rear. The building has a two-storey extension to the rear. The brick footing of the otherwise removed dividing wall is still beneath the floor. A lean-to at the rear housed toilet facilities, and has been demolished.
The main façade is typical of a Victorian/Edwardian false fronted shop, with Stripped Classical design, reinforced by the reinstated pair of sash windows. The windows have been recycled from another building and were matched to the original sash windows in the side wall. The identifying statement on the parapet 'Office of the Waikato Hospital & CA Board' was removed around 1938. The low gable roof in corrugated iron is largely hidden behind the curved pediment.
The foundations and walls are brick with the rear brick wall of the original building measuring approximately 23 cm thick. Earthquake strengthening work on the exterior wall adjacent to former Grand Central Private Hotel has been covered over with concrete.
The interior front section, originally the secretary's office, has a board and baton ceiling, while the back section, originally the boardroom, has decorative panels made from fibreglass: they were cast from a pressed metal panel original to the building.
The polished floorboards are largely original and are of kauri approximately 14 cm wide. Double front doors are also of kauri, but are not the original doors. The leadlight transom window is recycled from another building, replacing a plain pane. It is unknown whether a section of vertical board and baton panelling below the front windows is original.
Repair of fire damage and alterations
Wall between office and boardroom demolished
Front sash windows removed and replaced with large plate glass window, ceiling lowered?
Restoration and renovation, including reintroduction of 2 sash windows in the front, ceiling reconstructed, new toilet block, repair of water damage
Alter lean-to and 2 storey extension to the rear
Extension of balcony over courtyard area
Exterior is principally brick with some concrete, interior principally native timbers. Corrugated iron roof on original building.
4th November 2008
Report Written By
P.J. Gibbons, Astride the River: A History of Hamilton, Christchurch, 1977
Wises Post Office Directories
Wises Post Office Directories
1946, 1952, 1955, 1959
7 Aug 1903
24 May 1937
6 Aug 1903
7 Aug 1903
Alexy Simmons, Giselle Byrnes & E.R. Doolin, Buildings of Historical Significance in Central Hamilton, Waikato Regional Committee, New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Hamilton N.Z., 1989
Wright St Clair, 1987
R E Wright-St Clair, From Cottage to Regional Base Hospital: Waikato Hospital 1887-1987, Waikato Hospital Board, Hamilton, N.Z., 1987
A fully referenced Registration Report is available from the NZHPT Lower Northern Area 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.