Tourism / Travel

Colonial Cottage Museum – The First Settlers of New Zealand

New Zealand was mainly occupied by natives till the 18th century. The first European immigrants set foot in this island nation between the years 1856 and 1859. Among these first explorers most came in the search for better living and more prosperity.

Some came as explorers to discover the resources and natural heritage of this largely unknown east end of the world. The days of colonialism were soon going to beautiful city of Wellington. Wellington became the oldest city of New Zealand when the first college that Europeans built in New Zealand was built in there in the year 1858. This cottage was built by a London craftsman named William Wallis.

William and his newlywed wife Catherine had come to this beautiful city in the year 1857 after enduring a 17 week long sea travel. This long journey had brought this couple to a whole new world with infinite potential and opportunities. William had built hospitals during the Crimean War and was an accomplished carpenter in London.

Colonial Cottage Museum

Colonial Cottage Museum | Image Resource : wikimedia.org

This had given him both the resources and the skill to travel to a completely unknown part of the world. He used completely indigenous material for the construction of a cottage at the Nairn Street on Mount Cook, Wellington.

He had selected this beautiful and picturesque location not just because it was calm and peaceful. He wasn’t a tourist; he had come to settle his family in a new country. He bought the land because of the stream that flowed behind his property would be a permanent source of water. In the earthquake of 1855 the entire water supply of Wellington was devastated and polluted and Wallis knew this very well.

Looking at the masterpiece as it stands tall 150 years after its construction it is impossible to imagine that the entire cottage was built entirely by hand. The hands of an able and skilled carpenter transformed the logs of wild wood into a beautiful cottage that sustained his family for over four generations and around 130 years.

The cottage is a Class I heritage site today and has become an important tourist location in Wellington. Many house articles of the Wallis and later settles of the same era have been preserved in the Gregorian Style Colonial Cottage Museum in Wellington. This trip was a great learning experience for me and my family.

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