The Old Stone Cottage following the restoration work. May 2018.

The Old Stone Cottage following the restoration work. May 2018.

Canterbury’s oldest stone building restored to its former glory.

The restoration of Canterbury’s oldest stone building – the Old Stone Cottage at Orton Bradley Park on Banks Peninsula is finally complete.

Community donations, a grant from Heritage New Zealand, the Parkinson Trust, and pro-bono expertise from structural and civil engineers at Beca helped fund the repair of the cottage - which collapsed during the 2011 Canterbury earthquake.

A formal opening event dedicated to those who helped restore the cottage was held at Orton Bradley Park on Sunday 13 May, with local volunteers, Heritage New Zealand delegates, councillors and Christchurch City Council Mayor Lianne Dalziel in attendance.

Ian Luxford – Orton Bradley Park’s Manager says he’s been blown away by the support they received from local volunteers and contractors. “The generosity of the people who helped make it happen has been phenomenal. We had volunteers coming in every week, giving hundreds of hours of their time to bring this historic building back to life.

The restoration used new and existing materials and included a seismic retrofit upgrade to strengthen and protect the cottage from future earthquakes.

Beca structural engineer Matt Cameron says the challenge was to retain as much of the cottage’s original elements as possible. “We replaced the collapsed stone rubble walls with reinforced concrete and used the original stones as veneer. Internally, some walls were still in-tact, so we covered them with a glass cabinet so visitors could still see the original construction.”

Ian says he’s thrilled with how well the cottage has been restored. “When the completed work was finally revealed, my first reaction was ‘nothing’s changed!’ But that just shows how well we managed to preserve the original building. What has changed is the cottage is now permanently habitable and strengthened against future earthquakes. Everyone involved should be really proud.”

About Old Stone Cottage

Old Stone Cottage is a popular historic attraction for locals and visitors to Christchurch. Constructed by Samuel Manson in 1848, it originally served as a shepherding hut and is surrounded by other historic buildings including a dairy, stables, mill house and machinery shed.

Now reconstructed, it will serve as an information centre, park office and museum – focusing on colonial life and local history.

Park Heritage

There is a long and interesting history of Orton Bradley Park both before European settlement and after. The local Maori, Ngai Tahu had several villages on the Southern side of Lyttelton Harbour including their pa site at Purau in addition to their main pa at Rapaki. Certainly the area around the park would have been attractive with oysters, flounder, eels and flax.

The area where Orton Bradley Park is located has been farmed since the land was leased off the local Ngai Tahu in 1845 by Samuel Manson. The Reverend Bradley bought the land in 1859 and his son Orton, took over after his death in 1892. Orton Bradley was the eldest of 9 children and interstingly the only one not born deaf. This has led to a strong relationship between the Park and the Van Asch School for Deaf Education.

A timeline of the Park history can be found here.

Historical Buildings

Orton Bradley devised a system in 1885 using water power by way of a waterwheel to drive a generator which provided power for his house, to run a saw bench, drive lathes, a drill and a grindstone for blade shearers.

The Mill house and machinery has been restored and is in working order by a hardy and dedicated breed of volunteers.

The stone cottage is the oldest stone building in Canterbury. It was built by Samuel Manson in 1848 for use as a cottage for shepherds. This building was damaged in the 2010/11 earthquakes.

A replica of the original Bradley family home was reconstructed in 1998 from timber milled in the park. This gives an insight into colonial NZ living.

A full complement of farm buildings remain including a dairy, stables and implement shed. These protect carefully restored working farm machinery from colonial times including a rare cocksfoot thresher.

 The Old Stone Cottage damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes

The Old Stone Cottage damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes


ENTRANCE FEE

As we are a private park, there is an entrance fee to enter the park. The entrance fee helps to maintain the tracks, buildings and other attractions within the park. Your co-operation is much appreciated.

The entrance fee is $5 per adult, $1 per child, to a maximum of $10 per car load.

WE ARE A DOG FREE ZONE

Due to Orton Bradley Park being a working farm, and also hosting many young children, we do not allow dogs on the property. There are kennels available for use at the entrance booth.

COMING AGAIN?

Become a "Friend of the Park" for $35 per year. You and your family can have unlimited entry to the Park, a 6 monthly newsletter, and concessions to special events. Join us and help us keep the park alive and healthy with your contribution.

The Park is run under an act of parliament and operates as a charitable trust.

HOURS

The Park is open from 8.00am to 8.00pm, 7 days a week. Please note, gates are locked outside these hours and a call out fee may apply.

 The Farmhouse Tea Rooms from the original homestaed

The Farmhouse Tea Rooms from the original homestaed

 Governor's Bay School really enjoyed their school excursion to the park. Studying water power, the working waterwheel and talk inspired "many to want to become engineers in the future".

Governor's Bay School really enjoyed their school excursion to the park. Studying water power, the working waterwheel and talk inspired "many to want to become engineers in the future".