Mofflin House (Former)

13 Buchanan Street, Devonport, Auckland

  • Mofflin House (Former), Devonport. Looking southwest from Buchanan Street.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 17/04/2018.
  • Mofflin House (Former), Devonport. East and north elevation.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 17/04/2018.
  • Mofflin House (Former), Devonport. Verandah detailing at northeast corner.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Martin Jones. Date: 17/04/2018.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4526 Date Entered 28th June 2018 Date of Effect 18th July 2018

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Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 10 Allot 20A Sec 2 Parish of Takapuna (RT NA567/53), North Auckland Land District, and the building known as Mofflin House (Former) thereon. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the List entry report for further information).

City/District Council

Auckland Council

Region

Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 10 Allot 20A Sec 2 Parish of Takapuna (RT NA567/53), North Auckland Land District

Location description

NZTM Easting: 1760410.5

NZTM Northing: 5922469.0

(approximate centre of main building)

Summaryopen/close

Erected in 1875-8 as an artisan’s dwelling, Mofflin House (Former) is architecturally significant as an early remaining example of residential architecture in Devonport, and has been described as the suburb’s best surviving example of this style of worker’s cottage. The modest timber house was almost certainly built by its first owner and occupant, Arthur Mofflin (1841-1928), a skilled joiner who later became an architect and oversaw erection of what is believed to be New Zealand’s oldest surviving band rotunda in New Plymouth. Mofflin House is also significant for its close connections with Devonport’s role as one of New Zealand’s main ship-building centres in the nineteenth century, before the settlement evolved into a major marine suburb and recreational resort. The building contributes to a notably well-preserved nineteenth- and early twentieth-century townscape in Devonport, which demonstrates evolving architectural styles for both residential and commercial construction.

The property formed part of a large parcel on the east side of Victoria Road, issued as a Crown Grant in 1851. After successive subdivision in the 1870s the current site, Lot 10, was purchased in August 1875 by Arthur Mofflin, who was engaged in adding a hurricane deck and saloon to the ss. Llewellyn at nearby Niccol’s boat yard. Devonport was a major boat-building centre between 1860 and 1880, with Niccol’s yard the premier operation in the settlement and wider Auckland Province. The Llewellyn had just been purchased for the Fiji trade by the Auckland Steam Packet Company, and Auckland merchants hoped that it would be the first of a large fleet that would increase the city’s prosperity by plying the South Sea Islands route.

Located a short distance from Devonport’s waterfront, Mofflin’s new dwelling consisted of a small, hipped cottage of colonial Georgian appearance with a return verandah and rear lean-to. This contained four rooms including a walk-in parlour and small front bedroom. An additional gabled element at the back with two further rooms including a kitchen formed an early, possibly even initial, component. As well as designing and building the house himself, Mofflin is likely to have created elements such as elegant verandah detailing and several French doors. Household contents at Mofflin’s departure in 1878 included a number of items linked with his trade, including a quantity of timber, a carpenter’s bench and grindstone.

While living in the house Mofflin was involved in local affairs, serving as a fence viewer for the local Highway Board (1876-7), and as treasurer, then secretary of the Devonport Wesleyan Sunday School (1876-8). Subsequent owner-occupiers included Louisa Dacre, daughter-in-law of the pioneering timber merchant and trans-Tasman trader, Ranulph Dacre, who may have found herself in reduced circumstances following the death of her husband, Henry Dacre. Following purchase by Duncan McLean in 1909, the cottage appears to have been occupied by a succession of artisanal and other tenants. In 1922, the residence was obtained by John Smith, Master Mariner, who erected a brick outhouse containing a laundry and bathroom (1930).

Modifications in the 1980s reflect gentrification in Devonport and other suburbs close to Auckland city centre in the late twentieth century. A rear extension along the south boundary and an attached garage were added sympathetically. Limited change occurred within the footprint of the 1870s cottage, with its initial layout and other significant features substantially retained. The property remains (2018) in use as a private residence.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The place is significant for its close associations with Arthur Mofflin, a joiner, builder and later architect, who oversaw construction of what is believed to be New Zealand’s oldest surviving band rotunda in New Plymouth in 1891. Mofflin was responsible for erecting Mofflin House, and also occupied the residence for several years. While living in Devonport, Mofflin served as a fence viewer for the local Highway Board (1876-7), and as treasurer, then secretary of the Devonport Wesleyan Sunday School (1876-8). In New Plymouth, he became secretary and treasurer of the Taranaki Jubilee Exhibition (1891). In later life, he also became prominent in the National Association of New Zealand Spiritualists.

Through Mofflin’s employment as a ship’s joiner at the time of construction and initial occupation of Mofflin House, the place also has historical value for its connections with Devonport’s boatbuilding industry, considered to be one of the most important in the country in the 1860s and 1870s. It has particular value for its associations with Niccol’s yard - the premier establishment in Devonport and the wider Auckland Province during this period. It has close links with the refit of the ss. Llewellyn, which represented an attempt by Auckland merchants to expand maritime trade in the South Pacific, and particularly with the new British Crown colony of Fiji. Mofflin House is an early surviving residence connected with boat-building in Devonport, and directly reflects the spread of settlement into west Devonport as the boatbuilding industry expanded.

The place additionally has significance for its connections with the immediate family of Ranulph Dacre, a pioneering merchant linked with the cross-Tasman timber trade in the 1820s and 1830s. It is closely associated with his daughter-in-law, Louisa Dacre, and grandson H. H. Dacre, the latter a noteworthy sportsman at provincial level who helped re-found the North Shore Football Club in 1891 and was secretary of the Auckland Swimming Association. The Dacres’ occupation of the residence reflects Devonport’s growing shift from a boatbuilding centre and towards a marine suburb and recreational resort. Later changes to the place are connected with the gentrification of Devonport and other suburbs close to Auckland city centre in the late twentieth century.

Architectural Significance or Value

The place has architectural value for incorporating a relatively well-preserved example of 1870s artisan housing. Built by a skilled joiner, it retains evidence of artisan design and ability employed during construction, including in the creation of its elegant front verandah and French doors. The dwelling is significant as an early remaining example of residential architecture in Devonport, and has been described as the suburb’s best surviving example of this style of worker’s cottage. It contributes to Devonport’s well-preserved nineteenth- and early twentieth-century townscape, which collectively has considerable architectural value.

It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category 2 historic place. It was assessed against, and found to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, c, g and k.

(a)The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history

The place incorporates a well-preserved example of a nineteenth-century artisan’s dwelling, demonstrating the type of housing created and occupied by people of skilled working class status during the mid-colonial period. It especially reflects aspects of style, scale and layout common to such residences, including a single-storey, colonial Georgian exterior and internal elements such as a front walk-in parlour, small bedrooms and a larger rear kitchen. The dwelling retains other significant early features such as fireplaces in the parlour and kitchen, which reflect approaches to heating and related activities.

The place reflects the practice of self-built housing in colonial New Zealand. Self-reliance was an important concept in late nineteenth-century, Victorian society, especially among artisans and groups of similar social status. The residence contains examples of joinery probably created by its owner-builder, which can be seen to reflect an ongoing tradition of bespoke manufacture at a time when mass-production in large factories was becoming increasingly prevalent. Aspects of the building’s design have been used to illustrate architectural developments at both a local and national level in publications about New Zealand’s buildings.

Later components of the place reflect ongoing approaches in the early twentieth century to heating, cooking and sanitation. These elements include a well-preserved kitchen range, a metal bath and remnants of a brick outbuilding. Extensions in the 1980s reflect the widespread gentrification of colonial residences close to Auckland’s city centre in the late twentieth century, which adapted such properties to modern, middle-class needs. The sympathetic design of the extensions at Mofflin House can, in part, be seen as reflecting Devonport’s status as a community with particularly strong attachments to its past.

(b)The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history

The place has close connections with New Zealand’s nineteenth-century boat-building industry through the builder and initial occupant of the 1870s cottage, Arthur Mofflin. Boat-building was an important activity in nineteenth-century New Zealand, when the colony relied on water-based transport for connections both within the country and overseas. Devonport was one of the most important boat-building centres in New Zealand in the 1860s and 1870s, when timber was still widely employed for constructing and repairing ships. The place is closely associated with the boat-building industry’s employment of individuals with joinery skills. It represents an early and uncommon survivor relating to this aspect of Devonport’s development.

The place has especially close connections with joiner, builder and architect Arthur Mofflin. Mofflin is most significant for his role in overseeing final construction of the band rotunda at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth - believed to be New Zealand’s oldest surviving band stand. Mofflin was also closely involved in activities relating to Taranaki’s Jubilee celebrations and became a notable figure in the National Association of New Zealand Spiritualists.

The place has some significance for its associations with the family of Ranulph Dacre, a pioneering merchant linked with the cross-Tasman timber trade in the 1820s and 1830s; and Devonport’s increasing popularity as a residential middle-class suburb and recreational centre in the late nineteenth century. Dacre’s grandson, H. H. Dacre, who is likely to have lived in the house with his mother Louisa for an extended period, was an all-round athlete involved in a number of sporting pursuits for which Devonport was noteworthy during the late nineteenth century, including rugby and swimming. In addition to being a prominent practitioner, he was additionally treasurer of the North Shore Football Club and secretary of the Auckland Swimming Association during the early 1890s.

(c)The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history

The place has some potential to provide further knowledge of construction and use of artisan dwellings due to the well-preserved nature of the nineteenth-century cottage. Roof spaces and sub-floor areas, as well as floors and linings concealed beneath more recent coverings are likely to provide a more complete picture of artisanal production and use. In-ground remains linked with demolished 1870s outbuildings and possibly other activity in the rear yard may also survive to provide information. The existence of documentary evidence that may help interpret artisan use, such as an extensive list of possessions sold by its owners in 1878, also increase the potential value of the place to provide relevant knowledge.

(g)The technical accomplishment, value, or design of the place

The place has significance for aspects of the residence’s construction and design, notably the accomplishment and elegance with which some of its joinery and architectural detailing has been undertaken. The latter include its French doors and verandah fretwork. The building’s use of French doors flanking the front entrance forms a well-preserved example of a specific regional style of nineteenth-century construction, limited to the sub-tropical north of the North Island.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural area

The place contributes to a notably well-preserved nineteenth- and early twentieth-century townscape in Devonport, which demonstrates evolving architectural styles for both residential and commercial construction, and other important aspects of New Zealand’s past. The place is one of the earliest surviving nineteenth-century residences in the settlement and has been highlighted as the suburb’s best surviving example of a worker’s cottage. The place especially contributes to the historical and cultural area centred on Victoria Road, considered to form one of Auckland’s most notable nineteenth and early twentieth-century streetscapes. As a very early surviving component of this area, it demonstrates the shift in settlement from east to west Devonport during the mid- to late nineteenth century, which resulted in Victoria Road becoming the suburb’s main commercial centre.

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Mofflin, Arthur

Arthur Mofflin (1841-1928) was born in Kent, England. Employed in the building trade from a young age, he is likely to have worked as a ship’s carpenter in Victoria, Australia, before volunteering to serve as a military settler in New Zealand in 1864. By the early 1870s, he was operating as a carpenter, cabinet-maker and manufacturer of sashes and doors in New Plymouth. In 1875, Mofflin became a joiner at Niccol’s boatyard in Devonport, where he assisted with fitting up the ss. Llewellyn for the South Sea trade. While in Devonport, he constructed a cottage for himself and his wife Jane (née Ward) in Buchanan Street, a short distance from the foreshore.

After returning to Taranaki in 1878, Mofflin became established as a builder, overseeing the construction of dwelling houses, commercial buildings and other structures. Briefly operating in partnership with William Dingle in the mid-1880s, he gained contracts for erecting schools at New Plymouth West (1884) and Fitzroy (1885). Both in conjunction with Dingle and on his own account, Mofflin additionally advertised as an undertaker and also ran a furnishing warehouse for many years. Bespoke furniture produced by his workshop was reported to have been of a high quality. In 1886-7, he took out several patents linked with creation of butter boxes and set up a factory for their manufacture.

From the late 1880s, Mofflin offered his services as an architect. In 1890, he oversaw the construction of ornamental gates at Pukekura, and the following year the final erection of the recreation ground’s band rotunda - now believed to be the oldest surviving structure of its type in New Zealand. In addition to his involvement in construction, Mofflin served as a committee member of the local Mutual Improvement Society, and as secretary and treasurer of the Taranaki Jubilee Exhibition (1891). In later life, he also became prominent in the National Association of New Zealand Spiritualists.

Mofflin died in 1928 and was buried in New Plymouth.

Source: Proposal Report for Mofflin House (Former), AUCKLAND, List No. 4526, 12 Jun 2018, Martin Jones

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Early history of the site

The northern shores of the Waitematā Harbour are of significance to several iwi, having been explored and occupied since early human arrival in New Zealand. According to oral tradition, the Arawa canoe under Tama Te Kapua investigated the Waitematā. The Tainui canoe also landed at Te Hau Kapua (Torpedo Bay) in present-day Devonport before travelling to its eventual heartland in the Waikato. Recorded archaeological sites on the west Devonport foreshore include middens and oven stones. Horticultural features in the Maunga Uika (North Head), Takarunga (Mt Victoria) and Takararo (Mt Cambria) vicinity, and evidence of terraces, pits and midden, also indicate that Māori occupied the volcanic cones. Takarunga - a short distance to the north of Mofflin House - is considered likely to have been the main pā site. Following Ngāpuhi incursions in the 1820s, much of the North Shore was depopulated, assisting its purchase by the British Crown after formal colonisation in 1840. A small Māori settlement at Te Hau Kapua remained inhabited until 1863-4.

Devonport emerged as a colonial settlement with its use as a British naval station from the 1840s. The latter included a signal station on the summit of Takarunga / Mt Victoria. After Crown land in the area was subdivided and offered for sale in the early 1850s, European settlement initially intensified close to wharves and boatbuilding yards on the waterfront, the early focus of which was at east Devonport. During the 1860s, however, industry at the south end of Victoria Road in west Devonport emerged as a rival - and ultimately more successful - centre. The extensive nature of this industry has led to Devonport being described as ‘probably the biggest ship-building centre in New Zealand’ between 1860 and 1880.

The site on which Mofflin House was constructed formed part of a large parcel on the east side of Victoria Road, issued as a Crown Grant to William Oliver in 1851. In 1871, this land was conveyed to William Rattray, a ship chandler. Early the following year, a substantial part of the Rattray’s land was obtained by William Buchanan, a founder of the North Shore Ferry Company who subsequently became a local representative for both the Auckland Provincial Council and the Auckland Harbour Board. Buchanan soon subdivided his property, selling the current site, Lot 10, to Arthur Mofflin (1841-1928) in August 1875. Mofflin had recently taken up employment as a ship’s joiner in Devonport after moving to the area from Taranaki.

Mofflin soon constructed a house on the property for himself and his wife Jane (née Ward; 1848-1939), for their own occupation.

Construction and initial use of Mofflin House (1875-8)

Mofflin House was built as a modest, single-storey timber structure between 1875 and 1878. Few other residences had been erected in the immediate area prior to that time. The new dwelling lay a relatively short distance from Arthur Mofflin’s place of work at Niccol’s yard, which was the premier shipbuilding establishment in both Devonport and the wider Auckland Province during this period. Niccol’s yard contained the first large, patent slip in the country, and was capable of repairing ships up to 750 tons in size. It also produced vessels of considerable importance, such as the missionary ship Southern Cross in 1874.

At the time of his land purchase, Mofflin was involved in adding a hurricane deck and saloon to the ss. Llewellyn. The vessel had just been purchased for the Fiji trade by the Auckland Steam Packet Company, and Auckland merchants hoped that it would be the first of a large fleet that would increase the city’s prosperity by plying the South Sea Islands route. Its refit at Niccol’s yard demonstrates the strong connections between Auckland’s boat-building industry and expanding European activity in the South Pacific; and perhaps particularly reflects Fiji’s recent emergence as a British Crown colony (1874) and the latter’s increasing involvement in the global sugar trade. Mofflin remained employed as a ship’s joiner until he left Devonport in 1878.

Mofflin House was erected as a single-storey cottage of colonial Georgian appearance. It may have been built in two stages, the first before mid-1877 and the second prior to August 1878. The front portion of the residence consisted of a rectangular, hipped-roof element with a full-length lean-to attached to its back wall. A rectangular element conjoining the rear of the lean-to used similar construction methods, but was stylistically different in having fully gabled ends and has been suggested as possibly the earliest portion. Early images show additional detached outhouses of timber construction in the rear yard.

Externally, the cottage was clad throughout with horizontal, overlapping weatherboards, and had a shingled roof. The front part of the house was provided visual prominence by being built at a slightly higher level than both the associated lean-to and gabled element at the rear, and through its incorporation of an elegant verandah. The latter extended the full length of the front (east) elevation and also returned along part of the south wall, from which a view of the harbour would have been obtained. Other than the verandah return, the main elevation was symmetrical, with a centrally-placed front door flanked by French doors. Another French door accessed the verandah near the east end of the south side. The rear of the building incorporated the only other door, which was near the centre of the west elevation.

Internally, the house contained six rooms. The front part of the house held the two ‘best’ rooms – a modest, heated parlour entered directly from the front door, and a small main bedroom. Two narrow rooms lay within the lean-to, one of which also operated as a through-space connecting the parlour with a central hallway leading to the back door. The hall provided access to a kitchen and a smaller room in the rear, gabled element. The more private spaces, including bedrooms, were on the north side of the dwelling, while the main rooms faced the harbour to the south.

Arthur Mofflin is likely to have designed and built the residence himself. A skilled artisan, he had been involved in the building trade since 1856, including as a carpenter, joiner and cabinet maker. Detailing in many parts of the cottage may be attributable to his skills, including elegant posts and fretwork framing the verandah, as well as slender cornices at the tops of internal walls, board and batten ceilings of similar finesse, and French doors with narrow glazing bars. In the early 1870s, Mofflin had specifically advertised his skills as a maker of bespoke doors and windows, as well as other forms of joinery.

Prior to returning to Taranaki in 1878, Mofflin sold a quantity of possessions at the site linked with his artisan skills including timber, a carpenter’s bench and grindstone. Other items offered for sale were ‘the whole of his first-class furniture’, some of which he may have fashioned himself. These provide an insight into how the residence may have been furnished and used, and encompassed major items such as a bedstead, chests of drawers, tables and chairs, a washstand and bookshelves, as well as more minor pieces – for example, a towel rail, clothes horse, pickle barrel and flour bin. Specific items linked with décor in the collection included etchings and a large photograph of an Irish landscape.

While living in the house, both Arthur and Jane Mofflin were involved in local affairs. Arthur Mofflin served as a fence viewer for the local Highway Board (1876-7), and as treasurer, then secretary of the Devonport Wesleyan Sunday School (1876-8). Jane also assisted in Sunday School activities. After selling the property, the couple moved to New Plymouth, where Arthur Mofflin prepared building plans and specifications for clients; operated as a builder and contractor; and later ran a general furnishing business. By 1889-90, he was describing himself as an architect, overseeing the erection of structures that included a band stand in New Plymouth’s Recreation Grounds (1891; List No. 882, Category 2 historic place) - currently believed to be the oldest surviving band rotunda in the country.

Subsequent occupation and use (1880-1985)

In August 1878, Mofflin House was purchased by a local schoolteacher, shopkeeper and postmaster, Oliver Mays, who immediately advertised the sale or lease of the ‘handsome new Cottage, recently occupied by Mr. Mofflin’. Between 1880 and 1895, the property was owned and occupied by Louisa Dacre (c.1840-1927), the recently widowed daughter-in-law of Ranulph Dacre, a pioneering merchant linked with the cross-Tasman timber trade in the 1820s and 1830s. As well as running a large cattle station in the Wade, Louisa’s husband Henry Dacre had served as a Justice of the Peace and Inspector of Sheep, and briefly also as a member of the Auckland Provincial Council. With a young son to look after, Louisa Dacre may have found herself in reduced circumstances after her husband’s premature death. While living in Mofflin House, Louisa Dacre successfully applied for its rateable value to be lowered from £30 to £20 in 1888, and again from £20 to £16 in 1895. In 1892, the property was described as a ‘comfortable Cottage of 6 rooms.’

Louisa’s son, Hubert Humphrey Dacre, was a sportsman of all-round ability who represented both Auckland and Wellington in rugby and helped found the reformed North Shore Football Club in 1891. Also secretary of the Auckland Swimming Club, he won competitions such as the Amateur Swimming Championship of Wellington in 1894 and was later remembered as ‘one of the best and most powerful swimmers in New Zealand’. His prowess reflects Devonport’s developing importance as a marine suburb and recreational resort in the late nineteenth century, in which sport played a significant role among its increasingly genteel community. H.H. Dacre left Devonport for Wellington in 1894, a year before his mother sold the property.

An occupant in the late 1890s and early 1900s, Miss White, advertised for apprentices to assist with dressmaking, perhaps indicating a resumption of its use by skilled artisans. The property owner, George Shone White, a blacksmith who was a long-term employee of the Auckland Gas Company, may also have lived at the residence. After purchase by Duncan McLean in 1909, the cottage appears to have been occupied by a succession of tenants including John Giles, carpenter, in 1916. By 1921, it was inhabited by James Shilling, salesman, perhaps reflecting the decline of manual trades in Devonport by this time.

In 1922, the residence was obtained by John Smith, Master Mariner, who owned and occupied an adjoining property at 15 Buchanan Street. Shortly after a new residence was constructed on the opposite side of the property at 11 Buchanan Street, Smith effected improvements, notably the construction of a brick outhouse along the south boundary which may have replaced the earlier timber outbuilding elsewhere in the back yard. The new facilities consisted of a laundry, bathroom and small store. Toilet facilities still appear to have been in a separate structure in the back garden.

The cottage evidently continued to be rented out, including to Elizabeth Holmes and Alec Shenton, managing director, in 1931-2. In 1941 one of its occupants, salesman G. G. Jones, was conscripted for overseas service during the Second World War (1939-45) and served in the 27th (Machine Gun) Battalion. The addition of a small room in place of the southern return of the front verandah and construction of a small outside toilet beside the brick outbuilding were undertaken at an unknown date. John Smith owned the site until 1953.

Since the 1950s, the property has had a succession of owners.

Modifications to the residence (mid-late 1980s)

A series of modifications in the 1980s occurred during a period of general gentrification of Auckland’s suburbs, including Devonport. Initial modifications in 1985 included bringing in fixed bathing and toilet facilities to the house interior for the first time, and reinstating the return verandah to its full early form by removing the small addition on the south side of the building. The only alteration to the internal floor plan was the addition of a partition within one of the lean-to rooms. A small attached garage of sympathetic design was also added on the north side, set back from the main frontage. In 1987-8, a larger addition, also of sympathetic appearance, was added along the south boundary. This retained parts of the 1930 brick outhouse, including parts of the floors which continued to be used for laundry and bathroom functions. The only other major alteration was removing the south part of the rear wall of the nineteenth-century cottage to provide an interconnection with the pre-existing kitchen.

This work coincided with increasing recognition of the heritage values of the place. In 1986, the dwelling was considered to be an early remaining example of residential architecture in Devonport and a good example of a workman’s cottage from the 1870s. It particularly exhibited ‘the simple hipped roof over two main rooms with two or more rooms behind under a lean-to or gable roof’. In Jeremy Salmond’s Old New Zealand Houses 1840-1940, an image of the building was reproduced as an early example of wooden verandah design. In 1989, Salmond Architects considered it to be the best surviving example of its style of worker’s cottage in Devonport.

By 2018, no further significant alterations had been made to the main residence, and the property remained in private ownership.

Physical Description

Context

Mofflin House (Former) is located in the centre of Devonport, a maritime suburb of Auckland. Devonport lies on the northern shoreline of the Waitematā Harbour, and is noted for its well-preserved late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century buildings, and other historic landscape elements. Mofflin House is situated on the western side of Buchanan Street, a narrow residential street that is orientated immediately parallel with Victoria Road - Devonport’s main commercial thoroughfare and a notably well-preserved historic streetscape in an Auckland context. Like Victoria Road, Buchanan Street retains a considerable number of nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings, particularly in its central and northern parts. Collectively, these reflect the emergence and growth of colonial settlement close to Victoria Road, and subsequent intensification of occupation as Devonport grew in popularity as a marine suburb, recreational resort and commercial hub.

Devonport’s importance as a well-preserved historic and cultural landscape is reflected by numerous places in the suburb’s commercial centre and elsewhere that have been formally recognised through entry on the New Zealand Heritage List / Rārangi Kōrero, including a number in the vicinity of Mofflin House. These include the Esplanade Hotel (List No. 4481, Category 1 historic place); Victoria Theatre (List No. 7712, Category 1 historic place); former Bank of New Zealand (List No. 4511, Category 2 historic place); former Post Office (List No. 4510, Category 2 historic place); and a number of commemorative monuments including the First World War Memorial (List No. 4515, Category 2 historic place), the Alison Clock (List No. 4513, Category 2 historic place) and the Coronation Sea Wall (List No. 4516, Category 2 historic place). The former Bank of New Zealand and former Post Office, in particular, lie very close to the Mofflin House property, on Victoria Road.

Nearby residential buildings that have been identified as significant include Rockcliff (List No. 4518, Category 1 historic place) on King Edward Parade. A residence at 18 Buchanan Street is also included on Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan schedule of historic heritage.

The site

The property is rectangular in plan, occupying an area of 556 square metres. Its ground surface slopes down very slightly from east to west. The site contains a relatively small, single-storey timber cottage, set back a short distance to the west of the street frontage. The cottage has a conjoining extension at its rear on the south side, which visibly incorporates the remnants of an earlier brick outhouse. A modest garage also adjoins the cottage to the north. This is well set back from the main elevation. A small garden at the front is bounded along the street by a recent picket fence.

A significantly larger rear garden incorporates a small modern gazebo with open sides; areas of hard paving and grass lawn; and a series of wide flower beds. In the northwest corner of the property is a large metal bath, believed likely to have been moved from the brick outhouse during renovations in the 1980s. A couple of mature trees lie close to the north boundary but are unlikely to be of great antiquity.

The main residence incorporates a visually well-preserved single-storey cottage of colonial Georgian design. The nineteenth-century cottage consists of several elements: a front component with a hipped roof and front verandah; a central lean-to with a pentice roof; and a fully gabled component at the rear. All have horizontal weatherboards, with roofs clad with recent corrugated metal. Although likely to have been built in more than one phase, all exhibit solid angle stops - symptomatic of pre-1880s construction. More recent additions in the 1980s - notably a small garage to the north and a larger rear extension along the south boundary - are well set back on the property and are designed in a sympathetic style.

The cottage’s front elevation is broadly symmetrical, with a central front door, flanking French doors and an elegant front verandah. The front door is of large four-panel type with early fittings including a nineteenth-century lock. The French doors each contain a solid wooden panel at their base and three glass panes above separated by slender glazing bars. Joinery methods used to create these doors are evident, with the lower panels being made from several pieces of timber. French doors flanking the front entrance can be seen as an example of a regional style of construction, limited to the sub-tropical north of the North Island.

The aesthetically-pleasing nature of the verandah is emphasised by its slender, chamfered posts and fretwork of elongated curvilinear design. The verandah returns for a short distance around the south side of the cottage: this element was reconstructed in the 1980s, but replicates an initial nineteenth-century arrangement. This return is connected with the interior by a French door in the south wall of identical type to those in the main elevation.

Early windows elsewhere in the cottage are generally of four-pane, vertical sash type, including two on the south wall and another in the northern part of the rear (west) wall. These were evidently in place prior to the 1980s. The rear door towards the centre of the west elevation is of different type to that at the front, being required to light an internal hallway at the rear. The upper half of this door incorporates a series of small panes of coloured glass. Fittings include a rim lock and brass door handles.

Two chimneys survive, extending above roof level. Although of similar, corbelled design with monochrome brickwork, these are built of different colour brick to each other. A chimney within the front, hip-roofed element of the house utilises yellow brick and incorporates a ceramic chimney pot. A chimney in the rear, gabled element is constructed of red brick. Its ceramic chimney pot appears to be of slightly different design to that at the front.

The 1980s rear extension incorporates the visible remnants of a rectangular brick outhouse on parts of its east, south and west sides. Some of the brickwork on the east side may be reconstructed. Similar bricks have been used to connect the extension to the rear wall of the main cottage. The addition is of single-storey height, has horizontal weatherboards and a gabled roof clad with corrugated metal. The small garage attached to the north side of the cottage is designed in a similar style and also gabled.

Building interior

The main cottage retains a relatively well-preserved interior, with few modifications to its overall layout. It incorporates a classic two-room front element with direct access from the exterior to the parlour, often used for cottages of modest type, and a rear lean-to containing two additional rooms. The further gabled element of rectangular plan at the rear provided the cottage with two additional rooms that perhaps reflect its status as an artisan- rather than labouring-class dwelling.

The two front rooms - consisting of the parlour and main bedroom - contain board and batten ceilings, marking them out as having higher status than other spaces in the house. The battens are moulded and of slender design. Moulded cornices at the tops of each wall are also of restrained, narrow type. The parlour retains a fireplace in its west (rear) wall. This contains a timber surround with mantelpiece and a cast iron fireplace of round-arch type. The latter incorporates a prominent decorative motif around its internal edge. Glazed floor tiles on the hearth in front of the fireplace have been added in recent years. Doors providing access from the parlour to both the main bedroom and rear lean-to are of four-panel type. That to the bedroom contains nineteenth-century hinges stamped ‘BALDWIN PATENT’.

The floor of the lean-to is at a lower level than that of the front two rooms. It incorporates two small rooms, now separated by a wide central hallway. The latter was created in the 1980s by adding a partition to the north end of the south room, which was previously an open through-space to the rear, gabled element. The north room, now a bathroom, retains internal lining with beaded, tongued-and-grooved boards on both its walls and sloping ceiling. Both main lean-to rooms are lit by single windows.

The gabled element at the rear incorporates a narrow hallway to the back door. Four-panel internal doors near the rear of the hall provide access to rooms on either side. The smaller room, now a bedroom, is on the north side and contains a beaded, tongued-and-grooved board ceiling. The space is lit by a single window in the rear wall.

The larger room to the south is a kitchen, retaining a relatively tall brick fireplace and wooden fireplace surround against its east wall. The fireplace contains a well-preserved range made by the Dome Range Company Limited, Auckland. The range is of Dome No 0 type and has the words ‘NEW DOME AUCKLAND’ on the flue. Filled plugs in the internal brickwork, including one partly behind the flue, may represent remnants of an earlier arrangement. Floorboards to this room, where visible, have a dark varnish. A four-pane sash window lights the room from the south wall. The west wall has been opened out to create a connection with the 1980s extension along the south boundary.

The extension contains a large living space and additional rooms. A laundry and bathroom on the south side occupy the position of similar services that had existed in the 1930s brick outhouse, the external walls of which the extension partly incorporates. The floors of these rooms are at a lower level than the rest of the extension, marking them out as remnants of earlier spaces. The garage incorporates a space initially designed as a workroom, as well as the main garaging area.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1875 - 1878

Addition
1985 - 1985
Rear extension and removal of room at south end of verandah

Additional building added to site
1930 -
Brick outhouse & probable demolition of 1870s outhouse

Addition
-
Addition - Small room on S. side of residence

Additional building added to site
1985 - 1986
Garage on N. side of residence

Addition
1987 - 1987
Rear extension (incorporating remnants of 1930 outhouse)

Partial Demolition
1987 - 1987
Removal of part of W. wall of 1870s residence

Construction Details

Timber (main residence); brick (outhouse)

Public NZAA Number

R11/2923

Completion Date

12th June 2018

Report Written By

Martin Jones

Information Sources

Auckland Star

Auckland Star

23 Jul 1875, p. 2; 14 Aug 1875, p. 3; 7 Aug 1878, p. 3.

Musgrove, 1986

Sydney Musgrove (ed), The Hundred of Devonport: A Centennial History, Devonport, 1986.

Salmond, 1986

Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen

Salmond Architects 1989

Salmond Architects, ‘Devonport Historic Register’, Auckland, 1989

Heritage Consultancy Services, 2011

Heritage Consultancy Services, ‘North Shore Heritage - Thematic Review Report’, compiled for Auckland Council, 1 July 2011, Auckland Council Document TR 2011/010.

New Zealand Herald

11 Nov 1903, p.6.

4 Aug 1875, p. 1; 5 Nov 1875, p. 3; 28 Jul 1876, p. 1; 8 Nov 1876, p. 3; 3 Oct 1877, p. 2.

Lambert, 2014

Lambert, Ron, ‘Ancient but Elegant: Pukekura’s Band Rotunda’, Friends of Pukekura Park Magazine, Vol. 9, No. 1, Feb. 2014, pp. 12-13.

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero 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.

Archaeological sites are protected by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014, regardless of whether they are entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero or not. Archaeological sites include ‘places associated with pre-1900 human activity, where there may be evidence relating to the history of New Zealand’. This List entry report should not be read as a statement on whether or not the archaeological provisions of the Act apply to the property (s) concerned. Please contact your local Heritage New Zealand office for archaeological advice.

A fully referenced proposal summary report is availble on request from the Northern Regional Office of Heritage New Zealand.