“How old is your cottage?” is a question we’re often asked. It’s difficult to answer accurately, because the City Council’s building records don’t go back far enough. The land on which the cottage stands was originally part of Town Reserve 21 and designated to become the Botanic Gardens. When it was decided the gardens should be in Hagley Park the designation was changed to Reserve 63. The first title for our small piece of land was issued in 1872 to Arthur Appleby, who also had many rural sections. In 1877 he sold it to George Levitt Binning, a City Council Labourer, who we believe was the builder of this colonial cottage. At first it would have consisted of just two rooms, and was probably constructed from a kitset, selected from a catalogue, and shipped from Australia. It’s likely that it was erected by 1878, and we’ve recently put up a sign saying “Est. 1878” so that passersby can have an answer to their question. Since the earthquakes there aren’t many cottages of this age left in the local area.
“Our cottage is extremely old
almost one-forty years we’re told.”