Travelling around the older areas of Timaru you can still find some interesting old homes.
Our fashions and tastes were heavily influenced by English design and in some cities you can see the use of semi-detached dwellings. In England the use of Terrace Housing, rows of 3 or more dwellings with shared walls on either side was common.
Terrace Housing was not popular in New Zealand. They were seen as undesirable as they symbolised the congestion and sometimes, squalor, of city living in England that many of our settlers had left behind. Here we had plenty of space available and the preference was for single houses built on their own quarter acre sections
A semi-detached dwelling is a single family duplex dwelling house that shares one common wall with the next house. In New Zealand these houses started to appear from 1880 as land supplies tightened. The first semis were symmetrically designed and two-storey to maximise living space but still allow each family to have their own section.
This is an example of an early version of a town house. This semi-detached house sits on Catherine Street which lies within the boundary of Government town which, along with Rhodes town, formed our earliest subdivisions. The dividing wall is clearly visible emerging up through the roofline.
It was built around 1900 and can be described as Edwardian in style. The characteristics of this building were typical of the time in Timaru. You can see the box sash windows, solid red brick construction and rectangular plan. It features individual entrances on each side towards the rear.
Its roof is not as steeply pitched as a Victorian house would be. It has relatively few embellishments and decorative features with only a few decorative panes around the door, simple block eve brackets. A feature is the gabled porch above each of the rectangular bay windows below.
I imagine it would have been a very smart address to live at, towering above the surrounding cottages and enjoying views over the bustling busy settlement. The town green belt lay across the main road with views of the mountains in the distance. Looking over a thriving neighbourhood with horse and carts rolling by and our first motor vehicles appearing on the scene.
A town house indeed.
Just an aside really, not a building or local landmark mentioned in this article……just a friendly little reminder from the garden that the mood out there is lightening a bit.
I do love a bit of winter, the skeleton trees, the icy puddles, the rain on the roof but It’s been cold right? Lovely to be snuggled up safe and warm inside preferably with people you like or a good book to read, or all rugged up and walking the dogs…. perfect. Lots of snow on our horizons, the mountains surrounding us are looking fabulously smothered in the white stuff…. however that’s not the only type of ‘snow’ making an appearance. In many of our gardens, big and small, young and old, those hardy little late winter warriors, Snowdrops, are making their way out into the world. A reminder that winter doesn’t last forever, the sun will shine again and Spring in just around the corner.
Early settlers imported them to decorate the land surrounding their homes, and they must have been freely available, as an article in the Otago Witness, August 1888, insists that "there is not a garden that should be without these delicate-looking flowers, either in town or country".
Flowering in late winter, a sign spring was on its way must have given the colonists relief that they'd made it through another New Zealand winter.
Snowdrops come under the family name Galanthus. They are a Spring bulb and very easy to grow. Plant your snowdrop bulbs under deciduous trees, they will receive sufficient sunlight, since they bloom and begin storing nutrients before the leaves come out on trees. Just leave them there and they will multiply and naturalise, making them an irresistible addition to the woodland garden.
Obviously I am not the only Snowdrop enthusiast around Canterbury. I see the annual SNOWDROP SUNDAY will be held at Terrace Station on Sunday 12th August with visitors welcome between 11am and 3pm. Nice Idea for a Sunday drive.
Terrace Station and its 15 hectares of woodland gardens can be found at Hororata. Follow signs from the Hororata roundabout – approx 5kms to site. This year the snowdrops are a couple of weeks ahead of schedule but you will still see plenty as well as winter aconites and banks of hellebores, not forgetting the magnificent trees in their winter splendour. If the day is fine, bring your picnic lunch.
Adults - $5.00 per head to the Terrace Station Charitable Trust. Children – no charge Please note that dogs are not permitted.
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