Windle Settlement Workers' Dwellings Historic Area

14-62 Rosebery Street (Even Numbers) And 2, 6, 10 Newport Street, Belleknowes, Dunedin

  • Windle Settlement Workers' Dwellings Historic Area.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 9/12/2005.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7640 Date Entered 9th December 2005 Date of Effect 9th December 2005


Extent of List Entry

The registration includes all of the following properties: 2, 6, 10 Newport Street, and 14, 20, 22, 24, 28, 30, 32, 36, 38, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 and 62 Rosebery Street.. The area consists of the first 20 houses built under the Workers' Dwelling Act 1905 in the Windle Settlement located on Rosebery and Newport Streets in Belleknowes, Dunedin. The houses are 2, 6, 10 Newport Street, and 14, 20, 22, 24, 28, 30, 32, 36, 38, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 and 62 Rosebery Street.

City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Lots 1,4 DP 15615; Secs 17-19, 25-32, 47-53 Windle Settlement; (RTs OT6A/1209, OT6B/792, OT240/124, OT265/300, OT313/205, OT253/98, OT223/189, OT207/150, OT209/84, OT210/93, OT303/76, OT223/9, OT311/238, OT2C/861, OT212/56, OT319/40, OT295/123, OT207/151, OT234/252, OT378/241), Otago Land District.


The Windle Settlement Workers' Dwellings Historic Area consists of the first twenty houses built in Dunedin under the Workers' Dwellings Act 1905 as part of the first government state housing schemes. These were the only houses built under the 1905 Act in Dunedin and form an intact area reflecting the principles and practices of the Liberal Government housing policy.

The Windle Settlement was established in 1906-07 along with settlements in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. The settlements constructed under the Act comprised the first State Housing scheme in New Zealand. This was an integral part of the Liberal Government's administration of radical social policies, such as votes for women, old age pensions and housing for all. An impetus to the establishment of the Workers' Dwellings Act was a general assumption about the positive relation between home ownership and social order, as revolutionaries did not come from 'men with happy homes in pleasant surroundings'. The Windle Settlement is an embodiment of these ideals, which foreshadow the 1930s Welfare State promoted by the first Labour Government.

The Windle Settlement is located in one of Dunedin's finer established hill suburbs, Belleknowes, formerly in the Borough of Mornington. Windle Settlement was the only such settlement to be established in Dunedin. It is highly significant that the outward aspect of the Windle houses subscribes to British and American Arts and Crafts influences that were adopted by a select group of architects working in New Zealand at the time, most of whom had received their training in Britain. The Garden City Movement was also a factor in setting an aesthetic and practical ideal for the 'healthy' settlement of New Zealand workers and their families.

The Windle Settlement, with its elegant array of one and two-storeyed houses, interspersed with semi-detached houses (separated by a firewall), forms a modest, yet picturesque ideal of early twentieth century suburban living in New Zealand. The design and three-dimensional treatments uphold the progressive ideas that recommended white upper-working class families should be settled in suburban houses to give an appearance, or 'culture', of respectability.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Windle Settlement is historically important as one of the 1905 Workers Dwellings Act settlements which were an important embodiment of ideas and policies reflected in national social and housing policy in the early twentieth century.

The settlements constructed under the Workers' Dwellings Act 1905 comprised the first State Housing scheme in New Zealand. Workers' housing was constructed in Auckland, Petone and Christchurch and Dunedin under the Act. This was an integral part of the Liberal Government's administration of radical social policies, such as votes for women, old age pensions and housing for all. These policies formed the basis of the Social Welfare State that developed in the 1930s under the Labour Government. For these reasons Windle Settlement may be considered as having great historical significance.

The architectural significance of Windle Settlement is predicated on the work of three of New Zealand's leading architects of the period - James Louis Salmond, Basil Bramston Hooper and Patrick Armstrong Wales. All three are better known for their larger, more expensive buildings, thus the houses are unusual examples of their work.

The Liberal Government held a competition to encourage designs from architects. This was unusually significant because workers at that time did not live in houses designed by architects; they tended to live in cottages and villas constructed by builder/speculators. The cottage bungalow forms, selected by design competition, had the potential to offer uncrowded, sanitary, warm and ventilated accommodation to working people of limited means.

The Windle Settlement has aesthetic significance. It is highly significant that the outward aspect of the Windle houses subscribes to British and American Arts and Crafts influences that were adopted by a select group of architects working in New Zealand at the time, most of whom had received their training in Britain. The Garden City Movement was also a factor in setting an aesthetic and practical ideal for the 'healthy' settlement of New Zealand workers and their families.

The Windle Settlement, with its elegant array of one and two-storeyed houses, interspersed with semi-detached houses (separated by firewall), forms a modest, yet picturesque ideal of early twentieth century suburban living in New Zealand. The design and three-dimensional treatments uphold the progressive ideas that recommended white upper-working class families should be settled in suburban houses to give an appearance, or 'culture', of respectability.

The Windle Settlement has social significance. The settlements constructed under the Workers' Dwellings Act represent highly significant aspects of New Zealand's social development in the early twentieth century. They were developed as part of an experiment in social engineering - the concepts of eugenics and the "deserving poor" were prominent at the time.

Through attractive homes the Government believed the State could elevate the whole moral tone of the community and "lift man out of the Slough of Despond". The Liberals looked beyond the quite adequate provision that the houses should not be built on the same plan, to an emphasis on architecturally-designed houses that workers would feel uplifted to return home to in the evening. The dwelling forms are directly inflected by the social policy and morality of the nation's leaders, a middle class romanticism on the new lifestyles that they could offer workers.

It is appropriate to consider the desire and ability of residents and visitors to view the streetscape in terms of its cultural heritage values. The integrity of the houses at Windle Settlement provides a 'bridge' to our understanding of the successive building eras, social housing policies and scales of economy that a New Zealand colonial city has endured.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The twenty Windle Settlement workers' dwellings in the proposed historic area are the first and only houses approved and built in Dunedin under the Workers' Dwellings Act 1905. The houses were built in 1906-07, at the same time as initial workers' dwelling settlements were also approved and built in Auckland (at Otahuhu and Ellerslie), Christchurch (at Sydenham) and Wellington (at Petone). The settlements constructed under the Act comprised the first state housing scheme in New Zealand. This was an integral part of the Liberal Government's administration of radical social policies, such as votes for women, old age pensions and housing for all, foreshadowing the social welfare policies adopted by the first Labour Government in the 1930s.

The Windle Settlement is located in one of Dunedin's finer established hill suburbs, Belleknowes, formerly in the Borough of Mornington. The Windle Settlement remained the only such settlement to be built in Dunedin.


New Zealand was guided by developments afoot in Britain at the time. In the late 1800s British legislation was enacted for slum clearance and to improve building standards. The Artisans and Labourers Dwellings Act 1875 allowed for the municipal building of houses at Birmingham. The Public Health Act 1876 empowered Courts to declare buildings unfit for human habitation and classified as nuisance houses "so overcrowded as to be dangerous - to the health of inmates". The Housing of the Working Class Acts of 1885 and 1890 empowered municipal authorities to build houses on an economic basis, where rents would cover the costs. Land legislation in the 1890s encouraged housing development but there was not a strong demand by workers for either village settlements or workmen's home allotments - in England, it was not unusual for wealthy philanthropist businessmen to build housing estates for their workers.

In New Zealand it was considered that only "a revival of British home life" could combat social evils - juvenile immorality, violence against women and children, drunkenness - and instil values of sobriety, thrift and respectability. The impact of the Plunket Society and the cult of "scientific motherhood" continued the ideology. Domestic science was seen as important not just for the regeneration of the race but also the creation of domestic happiness through the provision of good, nutritious meals and comfortable family homes.

The Municipal Corporations Act 1900 empowered Councils to acquire and improve "portions" of boroughs deemed to be "in an overcrowded, degraded, or insanitary condition". Another section contained provisions to prevent the overcrowding of land or individual houses. These concerns emerged during a year of public outrage at slums, which were especially brought into the public eye in Wellington and Dunedin. Under the Municipal Corporations Act 1900, there were provisions for better replacement dwellings, and Councils were also empowered to acquire buildings for conversion to workers' dwellings - their construction was declared as "public work".

In Dunedin at least three initiatives were taken to begin a housing scheme, but none got off the ground. The Bubonic Plague scare in 1900 induced health authorities to condemn a few houses unfit for human habitation. The evictions raised public concern when it became evident that Europeans (not only other ethnic groups) were living in slum conditions.

The early 1900s were marked by prosperity, and the Liberal Government, under Richard Seddon who had been Premier since 1895, resolved to take action. Seddon had travelled to Britain in 1897 to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and while there he visited workers' housing built by local councils in London and Glasgow. He was keen to initiate similar schemes in New Zealand.

By 1905 it was widely recognised that previous attempts to address the problem of urban slums and congestion had been largely unsuccessful. Because local authorities had failed to provide workers' dwellings, an expectation was placed on the Government to do so. The Governor General's speech at the opening of Parliament on 27 June 1905 proposed that the State take over the almost unused powers of local bodies to build workmen's homes.

Earlier schemes had failed because the "urban toiler" preferred to live in the vicinity of his work, and resorted to overcrowding when suitable dwellings were not available. Seddon's introduction of the Workers' Dwellings Bill was initially welcomed by all. The Trades and Labour Councils were working on the "Workmens' Homes question" during 1905 and they were joined in this by the Independent Labour League, formed in Dunedin in 1905 to make the Liberal Government more attentive. Their first conference demanded "the establishment of workers' dwellings in all centres of population".

It is interesting to note that the Otago Daily Times feared that the legislation was a manipulative vote-catcher that would delude the working class. The Editor was wary of the socialistic leaning of the Act. He claimed the Government had increased the cost of living and made the poorer workers dependent on the Government.

When asking the House to support the Bill, Seddon had argued that "by reducing the cost of living for the worker you are giving relief to the capitalist" and that the Act would stop the workers demanding higher wages. There was also recognition at the time that the State had spent millions of pounds on settling farmers so it was only fair to put a substantial sum into workers' homes.

The Workers' Dwellings Act was passed on 30 October 1905. It enabled the Governor, by Order in Council Gazetted, to set aside any Crown land or Land for Settlements land for workers' dwellings. The preliminary surveys, the formation of the streets and other works, were to be done under the Minister of Lands. On this land the Minister of Labour could erect workers' dwellings, or convert any existing buildings into workers' dwellings. The houses were to be let and managed by the Land Board for the land district in which the dwellings were situated. Tenants were expected to pay their local body rates.

With State Housing being such a new venture, the relationship between the Government and local bodies who were usually responsible for urban housing had to be clarified. In Dunedin, the exemption from rates of the land on which the houses were to be built caused discontent. Ratepayers claimed they should not have to subsidise the provision of water, drainage, lighting and such for the Settlement.

The working of the Act was explained in a memorandum presented to Cabinet by the Prime Minister on 12 February 1906. The final stage in the implementation of the Act was publication of regulations in the New Zealand Gazette, in March 1906. This included the provision that preference would be given to applications from married persons, widows and widowers with families. Women were included in the definition of worker and were therefore eligible to apply.

The passing of the Workers' Dwellings Act of 1905 began fourteen years of experimental State intervention in the housing market, prompted by the realisation that private enterprise could not supply enough housing of a suitable standard for the population as a whole. A persistent theme throughout the implementation of the Workers' Dwellings Act was its perceived role in helping to elevate the position of the nuclear family in society. The rather loose arrangements of nineteenth century colonial working class families were to give way to a close domestic happiness in a detached house in the suburbs. The exclusion of those who did not fit the ideal was justified by the weight attached to the idea of the "deserving poor". At the same time, those who were showing the virtues should be assisted.

Initial reaction to the Workers' Dwellings Act 1905 was generally favourable. After 15 years of liberal legislation, and recent prosperity, New Zealanders were not averse to social changes through reforms. As the year passed, labour groups were increasingly disillusioned with the Workers' Dwellings Act, and the Liberals. Following Seddon's death on 10 June 1906, Joseph Ward became Prime Minister. Ward, an efficient businessman, was instrumental in setting up the State Advances Office. Together with his Minister of Labour, Mr J.A. Millar of Dunedin, Ward laid emphasis on the workings of the Act with the Workers' Dwellings Amendment Act 1906, and the extension of State Advances to workers in October 1906. The 1906 amendments increased the annual earnings allowed to £200 and stipulated that if more than one person applied for a house, it should go to the person who earned the least, providing he/she was of good character and the Board thought he/she could cover the rent. (An earlier amendment in 1905 had increased the amount that could be spent on building the houses, from £300 to £350 for a timber structure and up to £400 for brick, stone or concrete.)

The government was proud of its achievements in constructing the workers' dwellings, and promoted them in the international arena. A booklet describing their efforts and the quality of the accommodation was presented at the International Housing Congress held in London.

The Windle Settlement

Windle had been St Andrew's Golf Course in the late 1890s and early 1900s. In early 1906 the Board of Land Purchase Commissioners recommended its purchase under the Lands for Settlements Act. The decision to use the Windle site had opened the scheme to a great deal of criticism and perceived failure even before it had opened. Street formation, concrete channelling and asphalting were carried out by tender under the Commissioner of Crown Lands. The Workers' Dwellings Advisory Board arrived in Dunedin in March 1906. Their inspection of the site noted that the street formation had ruined the levels on the adjoining Millar Street, so that sections on one side of the street were nine feet below the level, and on the other ten or fourteen feet above. The land had to be resurveyed to make the building of houses possible. There were 50 surveyed allotments. The site was set apart under the Workers' Dwellings Act in May.

Meanwhile designs for the houses were being pursued. Even before the Workers' Dwellings Act 1905 was passed, Prime Minister Richard Seddon (1845-1906) announced an architectural competition for the designs of workmen's houses, with two entry sections in the competition, one for the North Island and one for the South. Prizes were in the order of £100 for the best design, £75 for second, and £50 third. Seddon expected to receive designs from many architects and saw the competition as a way of guaranteeing the involvement of New Zealand's best architects. Seddon also wanted to have a variety of plans to choose from so the proposed settlements would not be branded as Government houses.

No less than 150 designs were received, of these 34 were chosen as "the best and most suitable". Three bedrooms were the minimum necessary, one for the parents and one each for boys and girls. The rooms, if possible, were not to open one into another, but into a hall. However, few designs had been received from Dunedin architects in the competition, and these were mostly unsuitable. A call was made for fresh designs to be returned in ten days. This time there was a satisfactory response and five architects won favour, although only the designs of four were ever built.

Through their work at Windle Settlement, Dunedin architects James Salmond, Basil Hooper and Patrick Wales strongly contributed to bringing the Arts and Crafts style into currency in Dunedin and Otago. Only Hooper would go on to form an extensive career portfolio of Arts and Crafts buildings in Dunedin and throughout New Zealand.

Four designs by James Salmond were chosen, eight of these are included in the proposed historic area. Salmond received instructions that nine houses were to be erected on his plans. In his plans "every attention [had] been given to comfort and appearance". "No. 2" design was for a semi-detached two-storeyed house, and although this went against the ideal of a detached house, it was considered suitable for the narrow sections. It was hoped applicants would have no objections to the concept - indeed, the houses contribute greatly to the scale and attractiveness of Rosebery Street.

Basil Hooper had two of three designs accepted. Four Hooper houses are included in the proposed historic area. Influenced by contemporary British architecture, his modern designs caused more interest than others. "No. 7" was a two-storeyed brick house "outwardly quite artistic. The lower part of the house [was] in brick exposed, and the upper part in roughcast white, with casement windows, tiled roof, and porch over the front entrance. There [were] five rooms for accommodation, with wash-house, etc under the same roof." "No. 2" was a one-storeyed brick cottage, with a "tiled roof, verandah over the front entrance, and casement windows" - here, the conveniences were apart from the main building, with covered access. Both of these designs gave "a very up-to-date appearance". Three houses of the one-storeyed design were to be erected, and one of the two-storeyed design.

Two designs by Patrick Wales were recommended, and five Wales houses are included in the proposed historic area.

Stanley Jeffreys had his "No. 2" design accepted. Two wooden houses were to be built on this plan, but three Jeffreys houses are included in the proposed historic area, one replacing a rejected Salmond design. Stanley's design was compact "with especial regard to occupancy by a family doing their own work" in the large 15' x 19' living room-kitchen. The outward effect "followed the custom...ruling in England, and substituted casement windows for sash-hung". While gables were introduced, the roof "broken-up" as much as possible, for the sake of effect.

Finally, J.C. Brodwick, of Invercargill, received notice that his design for a two-storeyed residence would be accepted for three houses. No tenders were received for Brodwick's design, which was to be altered and fresh tenders called. However, in the end his design was never implemented.

Tenders were called in August 1906 for the erection of the houses. At first contractors would not tender, demanding certain conditions from Government, but once these were met tenders went ahead. Tenders proved to be higher than expected. Those for the brick dwellings were so high that it was decided not to build the Salmond single-storey brick, or the Hooper two-storeyed. They were replaced by an extra Hooper and an extra Jeffreys single-storey house in timber.

The building of twenty houses recommended for the site was eventually approved. The average cost of the houses was £385 each. By the end of October 1906 nine cottages were well advanced and two two-storeyed houses were well under way. A further three cottages had just been started. The Otago Daily Times was impressed by the diversity of design and predicted a "very neat appearance indeed" when completed. By January 1907, fourteen houses were nearly completed and four more were still being built. The picturesque appearance of the varied style of architecture created much interest. According to the Otago Daily Times: "Numbers of people have taken advantage of recent fine Sundays to judge for themselves as to the justice or otherwise of the criticism that has been heard as to the too ornate character of the dwellings."

The fourteen houses were "open for application" on 21 January 1907. Mr H.E. March attended the District Land Office to explain the amended regulations. Sale plans, copies of regulations and designs were available. Applicants were to appear personally at the meeting of the Land Board on 24 January to answer any questions, and a ballot would be held the next day. The ballot never took place as demand for the houses was slow. By 22 January only two applications had been received, yet this was meant to be the last day for lodging applications. The paucity of applications was significant, and generated heated debate in Dunedin. Public opinion was that the Government had stupidly bought the wrong site that for various reasons was unsuitable. Many workers did not want to tie themselves down to a lease that would prevent them shifting easily from place to place or from job to job. Nevertheless, the hill suburbs were becoming increasingly popular in Dunedin. The 1906 census figures showed this to be so for Roslyn - the lower middle class wanting to distance themselves from the jumble of cottages on the flat. Roslyn and Mornington were full of foremen, self-employed tradesmen, small shopkeepers, as well as teachers, clerks and warehousemen. Access was helped by the extension of tramway facilities further into Roslyn/Mornington in 1906. The site was ten minutes walk (36 chains) from both the Mornington and Roslyn tram terminals but this was further than for most others in those suburbs. The main problem for workers would be tram fares.

Low-cost transport had been recognised as one of the most important factors to watch when choosing a workers' dwellings site if it was not near their place of employment. Tram fares on the Roslyn line were noted to be costly. Surprise had been expressed that the Roslyn Woollen Mill workers did not apply for the houses, as the Mill was in close proximity to Windle. An investigation showed that workers were made aware of Windle but most owned their own sections and were therefore not eligible. There was no doubt that the houses were desirable, it was reported they were "much superior - to the average workers' dwelling despite the lowness of rent". A number of people had expressed an interest in acquiring the freehold, but the conditions of freehold were too restrictive and too expensive. Windle Settlement rents, due to the relatively low cost of the allotments and dwellings, had been kept down to among the cheaper of the major cities. But this had been done by erecting the houses on a block of land in an area marginal in distance from the city and transport.

Application forms (1907-1910) show well over half the applications (38 in total) were received in 1907 the year the buildings were first let. By the end of June twelve out of fourteen houses had been let, and by August all houses had tenants. The first to be let were the single-storey cottages. Over 20 percent of applications were received in 1908, when the further six buildings were finally let. There was not a high turnover of occupants.

Of the people who applied for houses in the Windle Settlement only four stated their previous address was from outside Dunedin. Few applicants came from the flat - only one came from South Dunedin, one from the city, two from Caversham, and two from North Dunedin. Half of those who indicated their previous address came from the Mornington-Belleknowes-Roslyn area that surrounded Windle. They were taking advantage of a good house at a moderate rental, and not changing their geographical position. Generally, those who lived in the area were respectable working class and lower middle class, not the neediest sections of the working class, but those who the Act would benefit. The application forms showed: over 60% were employed in manual labour, 25% of them skilled. Of the rest, 2 were in clerical work, 3 supervisory, 4 in commercial activities, and 4 in domestic work. The most common specific occupation listed, for 8 out of 38 applicants, was "labourer". None were unemployed, although some jobs may have been irregular sources of income. However the rents would have meant a tenant would need to be earning a reasonable and regular income.

The scheme would not help those starting out in life, but those couples already established with children and a steady income. Only 7 applicants did not have dependent children. The average age of parents was 40 years, with 39 the most frequently recorded age. The average age of children was 3.5 years.

All the women were employed in domestic duties, although it is probable most were running their own homes and not receiving wages. Only 4 out of 38 applicants were women; and it is apparent from their decision to apply they were in exceptional positions.

Applicants had a choice of a weekly tenancy or a lease for fifty years. The large majority opted for weekly tenancy; only eight people opted for the long lease.

On 31 March 1908, two of the last dwellings to be built on Windle were the only ones in the nationwide scheme still to let (from a total of 127 houses built). These were finally let by 1909.

The building and letting of the initial twenty houses on the Windle Settlement had proved more successful than many had imagined it would. The houses were attractive and appreciated, and despite taking some time to fill, had now provided new lives for twenty families. However, the Settlement was not solving Dunedin's real housing problem.

Workers' Dwellings Act 1910

A new Workers' Dwellings Act was passed in 1910, not dissimilar to the 1905 Act but embodying a significant shift in policy - the Liberals now openly wanted workers to own their own homes rather than rent them.

It was not until 1926 that Windle Settlement was finally all offered for sale. A large auction on 20 May 1926 saw most of the unbuilt-on allotments freeholded under a deferred payment system. At least five of the Windle Settlement tenants had already bought freehold. Of these purchasers, and those that had purchased dwellings over the next few years, at least ten had been tenants at Windle Settlement before 1911.

Windle Settlement had been relatively large on the national scale of settlements. The provisions of 1910 saw new workers' dwellings built in Dunedin, but on a much smaller scale than expected. Workers in Dunedin were not eager to take up the advantages of the new Act. Only eleven houses were constructed under the Act in Dunedin, in the Windle Settlement and at Maia. Proposals were made for houses at Mosgiel but not carried through. Seven houses were built for applicants on vacant sections in Windle Settlement, where there were thirty-three sections still available in 1911. In 1916 the final house was built in Dunedin under the Act. Overall only 648 houses were built throughout the country, substantially less than the 5,000 originally planned.

In the 1920s after the Workers' Dwellings Act had been repealed, maintenance of Windle Settlement came under the Public Works Department for a few years. The dwellings needed very little in the way of repairs, which suggests the construction had been of high quality.

Overall, however, the Workers' Dwellings Act was not wholly successful. The location, cost and the criteria people had to fulfil, to get a house built under this scheme, meant that those New Zealanders most in need of better housing were unable to take advantage of it. More successful, argues Barbara Fill, was the Advances to Workers Act 1906, which made low-cost loans available to families to build their own homes. However, the Workers' Dwellings Act is historically significant as the first attempt of central government to provide suitable housing for its workers, and it was the forerunner of the large State housing developments from 1937. The emphasis on architectural design and individuality in the first workers dwellings add to their significance. The first twenty houses constructed for the Windle Settlement in Dunedin provide insight into the philosophy and design ethos as expressed through the architects' designs for Windle.

Physical Description

The Windle Settlement's ambient street character is a consequence of the largely unmodified, 'coherent' style of the twenty timber-board houses on their lots in Rosebery and Newport Streets. Rosebery Street, in particular, is well known for its charming vista of unusual and characterful houses - providing evidence of the related rhythms of building scale and garden setback achieved by the original architects. The street itself is widely formed, gently sloping, and disposed to the sun, with well-tended lawns and trees along one side.

When new, the Windle houses were described as "outwardly attractive" and "decidedly quaint". The Government had recommended the buildings be of varied appearance, such that no two houses of the same design were ever built side by side. In some cases the plan was rotated or mirrored to create further variation.

Predominantly though, the outward aspect of the Windle houses subscribes to British and American Arts and Crafts influences that were adopted by a select group of architects working in New Zealand at the time, most of whom had received their training in Britain. The Garden City Movement was also a factor in setting an aesthetic and practical ideal for the 'healthy' settlement of New Zealand workers and their families. The cottage bungalow forms, selected by design competition, had the potential to offer uncrowded, sanitary, warm and ventilated accommodation to working people of limited means.

The houses at Windle Settlement would have been very modern when new. Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, they are close in style to bungalows and have style indicators in common, as found on several of the houses, for example, casement windows, fanlights, "stick" gables, roughcast plaster wall sections, and timber shingles. The houses were all of timber construction, and heated by coal ranges and open fires in several rooms. Interiors furnishings were simple and restrained.

The New Zealand bungalow evolved during, not after, the final flowering and passing of the Victorian bay villa. The style derives from a merging of English and American building ideals, as influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, and traces back to colonial experiences at the time of the British Raj in India. The general architectural bearing of Windle Settlement tends to the modest evocation of bungalow style as fashionable at the time of construction.

From the street, the most significant feature of the Windle houses are their corrugated iron roofs, ranging from the simplicity of a single roof with front gable and veranda sections, to hip roofs with front gables and dormers. Additional visual devices have been used to best effect on the street elevations, including: deep eave overhangs, eaves bracketing, protruding bargeboards, exposed rafters, half timbering, shingled, fretwork or "stick" gables, verandas, sleeping porches, casement bay windows, window hoods, and tapering chimneys.

The quality of carpentry remained constant throughout Windle settlement. The floor plan compositions and three-dimensional treatments were particularly influenced by the compact English bungalow style. The houses variously demonstrated advances in the openness of planning, technology, built-in cupboards and easy-to-clean surfaces, all highly indicative of the era. Woburn Temple, an architect involved with the project noted that one of the features of the houses was the provision of the latest conveniences for sanitation, bathroom, lavatory-basin etc. Temple stated that provision was also made for a separate wash-house, boal-bunker, asphalted backyard, hot-water, gas, cupboards, wardrobes, linen press and dresser. In every case the walls are papered, painted or varnished and wherever possible the rooms opened into a hallway, rather than into each other.

Some houses had slim apron margins to the street; others featured typical 'bungalow' garden setbacks with picket fences and a sweeping path to the front door, via cut lawns and beds of flowering annuals and perennials, roses, trees and shrubs. The architectural streetscape was consciously controlled in terms of height variance, style variance and garden setback variance. The resulting appearance was completely coherent with Garden Suburb ideology, gestures to urban (two-storeyed terrace house) and semi-rural (single-storey cottage) form notwithstanding.

Today, workers' houses from this period are becoming less common because of subsequent redevelopment in areas adjacent to industrial zones. It is fortunate that Windle Settlement was established in what has become a desirable suburb. Regarded as good family homes, all twenty houses remain on site and are mostly lived in by their owners. Only two of the sections have been subdivided, and in both cases the newer houses have been placed at the rear of the original section. The streetscape values are successfully retained and enhanced by established plantings and replacement fencing systems, in sympathy with the original schema.

Windle Settlement provides a unique and authentic (little modified) townscape context from which to assess early transitional forms of the Colonial bungalow in New Zealand. The houses also demonstrate the change in building methods and technologies in the first decade of the twentieth century. In architectural heritage terms, the Settlement clearly has national, as well as local/regional significance.

Construction Dates

Information Sources

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR)

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives

1906-1916, H-11b

Allen, 2000

Ralph Allen with Chris Baughen and Jeremy Ashford, Motif and Beauty: The New Zealand Arts and Crafts Architecture of Basil Hooper Harptree Press, Dunedin, 2000

Archives New Zealand (Dun)

Archives New Zealand (Dunedin)

Workers' Dwellings Advisory Committee Minute Book, LS/36/19

Art New Zealand

Art New Zealand

Ian J Lochhead, 'The Arts and Crafts Houses of Basil Hooper', 39, Winter 1985: 60-63

Ashford, 1994

Jeremy Ashford, The Bungalow in New Zealand, Auckland, 1994



19 January 1907: 9

Bowman, 1990

Ian Bowman, 'Patrick Street Historic Precinct, Conservation Principles and Design Guidelines', 1990

Brookes, 2000

B. Brookes (ed.), 'At Home in New Zealand', Wellington, 2000

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Volume three, 1901-1920, Wellington, 1996

Wilkes, 1984

Chris Wilkes and Ian Shirley, In the Public Interest: Health, Work and Housing in New Zealand Society (Auckland: Benton Ross, 1984).

Hocken Library

Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin

AG/220/67/12, 'Miscellaneous: Workers' Homes' PW/20/40, 26/8/24 - 21/8/25.

Knight, 1988

Hardwicke Knight and Niel Wales, Buildings of Dunedin: An Illustrated Architectural Guide to New Zealand's Victorian City, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1988

New Zealand Gazette

New Zealand Gazette

1906, vol. 1, no 21: 835-38. 17 May 1906, vol. 13, no 37: 1286.

New Zealand Historic Places

New Zealand Historic Places

Barbara Fill, 'Dwellings for Workers', September 1984 15-16

New Zealand Official Year Book

New Zealand Official Year Book

1910: 565

New Zealand Parliamentary Debates

New Zealand Parliamentary Debates

1905, vol 132: 115 and 1905, vol 135: 105

Olssen, 1984

Erik Olssen, A History of Otago, John McIndoe, Dunedin, 1984

Otago Daily Times

Otago Daily Times

27 June 1900: 4, 29 Dec 1905: 3, 12 Feb 1906:1, 13 Mar 1906: 5, 2 May 1906: 5, 3 May 1906:7, 26 May 1906:5, 30 October 1906: 8, 22 Jan 1907: 3-4, 23 Jan 1907: 4, 25 Jan 1904: 4, 2 Aug 1907: 4.

Otago Liberal

Otago Liberal

6 May 1905: 5, 5 May 1906: 7, 9.

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this 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.

Historic Area Place Name