Old Stone Cottage Restoration underway

The Stone Cottage is one of Canterbury's earliest stone buildings.
Constructed by Samuel Manson circa 1846 to 1848 it's early date makes the building historically significant. Built originally as a shepherding hut, the cottage has fulfilled a variety of functions throughout its life; as a dairy, golf course clubhouse, workshop and museum.
The stone used for the cottage was likely taken from the creek bed and other parts of the park where boulders of volcanic origin are plentiful. Clay was combined with sea shells to make mortar (still visible in the walls) to hold the stones.
Sadly the Christchurch Earthquake in February 2011 damaged the walls causing part of the stone cottage to collapse. Beca has been completing a seismic retrofit upgrade; repairing and strengthening the cottage since then. The cottage is a unique structure as it has been extended at different stages throughout it's life. The clay and shell mortar used to bind the original stone walls together didn't hold up very well in the earthquakes while the parts added in the 1930's fared much better..
Local contractors have been engaged to start work on removing the roof and stone walls.

A new concrete foundation will be built, the original stone walls rebuilt using the stones removed and the 1930's stone walls will be strengthened. The fireplace will be rebuilt and a new roof constructed that replicates the existing. 
Once the work is complete, the western half of the building will become a museum focusing on colonial life and farming. The eastern half will become an information centre and the park office.

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. We are looking to repair it in the near future.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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".