Dotted about our rural communities are dozens of tiny libraries and there is a rather beautiful example of one of these charming buildings in the settlement of Woodbury.
This small wooden building was built by the residents of Woodbury in memory of Miss Eleanor Howard Tripp of Orari Gorge Station. It stands behind the war memorial positioned on a corner of the main road and is still in use today. There are two rooms on the site; one is a library room, the other a history room.
Eleanor was a great reader and a believer in the value of education for all. She started a library for the staff in one of the out building at her home at Orari Gorge Station. This ran continuously for 100 years and the collection of books, which has been catalogued and listed with the Historic Places Trust, still exists in the Historic buildings that stand at the Station today.
It is interesting to note that her sister, Katherine, known as Katie, started the Orari Gorge Station School around the same time.
Eleanor was highly respected in the district and took a prominent but unobtrusive part in social welfare and charitable work. She was a long time committee member of St Saviour’s Orphanage and served in this role until the time of her death, after an illness of several months, at 69 years of age.
She was also a Sunday School teacher and her pupils aided in the collection of the stones that went into the building of the St Thomas’s Church in Woodbury. This lovely church was built as a memorial to her parents, Charles George Tripp and Ellen Shephard Tripp of whom she was the third daughter. She was also a granddaughter of Bishop Harper.
This beautiful memorial library sits quietly in its place, it tells a story of New Zealand’s past history and culture and is well worth a visit. Built out of respect and admiration for the work done by this gentle woman, it remains well cared for by local volunteers. Its hours of operation are listed on the notice board out front.
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