3 Brookside, Nelson

  • Brookside, Nelson 2016. Image courtesy of Janice Emery of Re/Max-Elite Nelson.
    Copyright: Re/Max-Elite Nelson.
  • Brookside, Nelson 2016. Image courtesy of Janice Emery of Re/Max-Elite Nelson.
    Copyright: Re/Max-Elite Nelson.
  • Brookside, Nelson. 2016 Interior light fixture. Image courtesy of Janice Emery of Re/Max-Elite Nelson.
    Copyright: Re/Max-Elite Nelson.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5119 Date Entered 14th February 1991 Date of Effect 14th February 1991


City/District Council

Nelson City


Nelson Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 Deed 1765 (RT NL7C/1200), Nelson Land District



The first dwelling on Town Acre 507 was probably built by 1845 and by 1857 there were three houses on the land. In 1858 the Hodgson family were living there in an eight-roomed cob house - the original portion of "Brookside". The property has since changed hands many times. The historically most important person to have lived in Brookside was Thomas Brunner, who rented the house from 1866 to 1874. Brunner was the well-known explorer of the Nelson and West Coast regions. He undertook no exploration after the 1848 West Coast epic. He had various employment in the Nelson settlement and Christchurch until 1851 when he was appointed Surveyor of Crown Lands, Nelson, and in 1858 Chief Surveyor and Commissioner of Works for the Nelson Provincial Government. He retired in 1869.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Brookside is an important architectural survivor from the early settlement of Nelson. It has had numerous owners in this time, and at one stage was the home of the famous explorer, Thomas Brunner, who lived there for the last eight years of his life.


The cob portion of "Brookside" dates from the mid-nineteenth century, making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in Nelson. While the house has been subject to a series of major additions and alterations, it has retained its present form for many years and exudes charm and an atmosphere of stability. The piecemeal additions over the years imbue the house with its own special character.


The house is nestled amongst trees and other dwellings and is not prominent in its suburban environment.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


Originally an eight-roomed cob house, Brookside today retains several cob walls but its appearance is largely the result of a series of timber framed additions.

The central section of the house is two-storeyed, a narrow staircase leading to two bedrooms with sloping ceilings following the roof line. The pitched roof has a gable end to the south where bargeboards are adorned with a series of quatrefoils. A double-hung sash window is centrally placed within the gable-end, each sash with six lights. The north end of this pitched roof consists of a gabled dormer with plain bargeboards and simple casement windows. Below the dormer the external cob wall has been covered with shiplap weatherboards. This north facade has a verandah, the east end of which has been closed in to form a sunroom, and a formal entrance leading to a large foyer characterised by dark beams and polished floorboards. This is probably the original sitting room. Other rooms lead directly off it.

The east facade of the building has a square bay projecting from the formal living area and a gabled roof. Within the gable weatherboard cladding is stepped out and supported on simple brackets. Extending to the south is a lean-to housing the kitchen. The south facade has a cob wall which is partly exposed rather than covered with weatherboards. To the west of the house is another addition incorporating an informal living area and the master bedroom. Here the roof is pitched at a low angle.


Date unknown:

The original cob house has seen many additions, perhaps the earliest being the timber framed second storey. The east side of the house, other than the north cob wall, has been added and later rebuilt. Early photographs show a second storey in the south east corner, removed at some stage and replaced with the present single storey pitched roof. The north cob wall was covered with weatherboards probably at the same time that the east side of the house was rebuilt.

Other modifications include:

- Kitchen lean-to added to south facade. Floor of kitchen raised c.1970.

- Small lean-to added to south facade.

- Extension to west facade incorporating informal living area and master bedroom.

- Cob wall removed to enlarge master bedroom.

- Verandah closed in. East end remains closed in today, elsewhere boxing removed.

- Internal staircase enclosed.

- False ceiling added to formal living room.

- Carved rimu fireplace added to formal living room.

Notable Features

Cob walls, the large central hall.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1840s or early 1850s

Construction Details

Original walls in cob; elsewhere timber framed with shiplap weatherboards; corrugated galvanised iron roof.

Information Sources

Alexander Turnbull Library

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

Biographies Index

Electoral Roll

New Zealand Electoral Roll

Province of Nelson, 1866/67 - 1875/76, 1893/94

Wises Post Office Directories

Wises Post Office Directories

1872/73; 1878/79; 1883/84; 1884/85; 1898/99 - 1927

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

Certificates of Title, 60/193; 60/194; 7C/1200, Crown Grants, Primary Index 1, 18 January 1854 Primary Index 2, 2 September 1858; 24 October 1859, Deeds Index, 1/286; 1/946; 2/137; 2/465; 2/654; 3/414; 7/235

Nelson Evening Mail

Nelson Evening Mail

29 October 1959; 5 December 1964; 10 March 1984

Nelson Provincial Museum

Nelson Provincial Museum

Jury Lists, 1843-61

-Nelson Census, 1845 and 1849

-Electoral Rolls for the Province of Nelson, 1853-58; 1861

-NZHPT Nelson Regional Committee, File on 'Brookside' - Includes notes from Nelson City Ratings Rolls

New Zealand Surveyor

New Zealand Surveyor

November 1937, p121

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

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.