1870s lodges for migrants to be sold

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 08:30 19/02/2013
geraldine talbot st cottages
NATASHA MARTIN/ Fairfax NZ
HISTORY FOR SALE: 138 (top) and 136 Talbot St cottages.

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Apiece of Geraldine's history will soon be up for sale.

The town's quaint little cottages at 136 and 138 Talbot St will go on the market within the financial year, according to Timaru District Council (TDC) property manager Matt Ambler.

Despite having their place in South Canterbury's history books, not much is known about the houses.

The council bought the cottages in 2003 and 2009, respectively, to safeguard them from potential demolition.

A conservation covenant has since been placed on both buildings, protecting them from being knocked down.

The house at 136 Talbot St is a four-room cottage, which features a corrugated salt-box roof.

It is clad with "wide rough-sawn" weatherboards, which have been replaced on the sides of the cottage. There is one original brick chimney and the facade is enclosed by a veranda.

Behind the cottage is a washhouse and a shed, also built from weatherboards and corrugated iron.

Its neighbouring house, at 138 Talbot St, paints a similar picture.

It is similar in size, with four rooms. However, the most obvious difference is its double-gable feature, which faces the street. The facade of 136 runs parallel with the street.

The house at 138 has sash windows on the facade with four panes and a modern wood and glass door. The facade also has a veranda and a white picket fence.

Its exterior is clad with wide "rusticated" weatherboards, and the roof is corrugated, similar to that of 136.

However, 138 has a "lean to" at the rear of the building.

The cottages represent two styles of immigrant cottages built in the 1870s for new settlers.

While not much more is known of their history, the TDC can confirm that out of 120 "immigration cottages" built, only those that stand at 136 and 138 Talbot St remain.

The cottages were built circa 1870.

During that time timber was being milled in Pleasant Valley, and Geraldine was flourishing.

The town's population increased greatly between 1874 and 1875 so the Provincial Government built two four- room cottages, three two-room cottages and 36 huts along lower Talbot St.

The aim of the build was to overcome an early housing shortage.

Immigration barracks were also built at the south end of Geraldine, near the stone bridge.

The two remaining cottages represent two styles built in the 1870s for new settlers. A report in the Timaru District Built Heritage Inventory: From Mesopotamia to Pareora River highlights that the two remaining cottages are good examples of their styles.

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The cottages cost occupants six shillings a week and were designed to only be temporary quarters for immigrants.

Now, fully protected from demolition, the TDC has decided to put the cottages on the market. Money raised from the sales will go to the Geraldine Endowment Fund.

The cottage at 136 Talbot St is valued at $130,000 and the cottage at 138 Talbot St at $142,000.

The council has renovated the interior of both homes and rented them out. However, only one is being lived in currently.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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