House has a story to tell

20:30, Feb 21 2013
Te atatu Rd house
HISTORY FAREWELLED: Karen and Bruce Brooking are selling their 1930s home.

If the walls at 36 Te Atatu Rd could talk they'd have a colourful and varied history to tell.

The iconic property has been a maternity hospital, the Henderson Tennis Club and home to the famous Lawson quintuplets since it was built in the 1930s.

And now it's up for sale again after 20 years.

The 520 square metre house has two kitchens, three bathrooms, three additional toilets, 10 bedrooms, two lounges and a garage.

Owners Karen and Bruce Brooking, who ran the Abode of Beauty day spa there, are sad to leave.

Mrs Brooking says one of the things she loved most about the mansion was how quiet it was despite being on the main road.


Built for the wealthy Ryan family who established the Henderson Tennis Club there, it was later bought by the Health Department and turned into a maternity hospital.

Mrs Brooking says she would often show clients the birthing rooms.

"I had a lot of clients who had siblings born here, aunts, uncles. I didn't know too many people who didn't have an association with it,"

In 1955 the Auckland Hospital Board bought the property and it became an obstetrics hospital.

Ten years later it became the home to the famous Lawson quintuplets.

Sam and Ann Lawson became parents to the first set of quintuplets in New Zealand

Selina, Shirlene, Lisa, Deborah and Sam captured world media attention and even the Queen sent congratulations.

The Lawsons lived there for two years.

The Brookings have completely refurbished the house, but kept some of the details that set the property apart.

"It's a rock-solid building," Mr Brooking says. "We've kept the brass hinges and brass handles and you notice the high ceilings."

"The nurse call system is still above the doors which adds to the quirkiness of it," Mrs Brooking says.

The Brookings are reluctant to say goodbye to the property but are positive that future owners will be very happy there.

"It's very big for a family home but a family could use it. It worked well for us living here and having the business here,.

"It's a huge part of us. I feel torn two ways but we've spent many years working hard and we always said we'd take five years off."

Western Leader