Friday, 12 December 2014

44 Brown Street, The Camp

44 Brown Street, Tauranga, home of William Walmsley, Tauranga's first librarian, c. 2007
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 08-001
This house built in about 1873 is another timber villa that has survived in central Tauranga.  It is a substantial two bay villa, clad with rusticated weatherboards in a design taken probably from an American pattern book. The roof is corrugated iron, with three chimneys and verandahs on two sides with decorative fretwork. Originally there were five bedrooms but the function of the house has changed over the years and modifications must have been made. It is a significant landmark and has been well maintained. When the house was built the area was known as The Camp.

William Cowan Walmsley
First Librarian Tauranga, 1870-1884, died Auckland 16th April 1913, 84 years
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library, Ref. 01-388
William Walmsley, who lived in the house with his family from the late 1880s, came from an English family but grew up in Newfoundland. He was living in Melbourne by 1857 from where he was recruited and joined the 1st Waikato Regiment as a private. The government raised four regiments of militia to keep order in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Walmsley received the New Zealand War medal as he was able to prove he had come under fire in battle.  In 1872 he was appointed librarian at the Mechanics Institute, the forerunner of the Tauranga Public Library. Mrs Sarah Ann Walmsley died in the house in 1901 and her husband died in Auckland in 1913.

The house is now the offices of MacKenzie Elvin, lawyers. In the 1940s it was a private and maternity hospital called Waimarie. Miss R Gallagher was the midwife and from 1951 Dr Mark took surgical patients. In 1960 it reverted to a private dwelling and was subdivided into flats. For a period prior to the law offices the building housed the Bottle Museum.

Moore, Barbara, William Walmsley; Tauranga’s first librarian, in Historical Review Bay of Plenty Journal of History, May 2007.
Matthews & Matthews, Rorke, Jinty et al. Central Tauranga Heritage Study (draft) 2007

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