Friday, 26 October 2018

The House at 30 Cameron Road

Mirrielees home in 1997
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 00-554
The house on the corner of Monmouth Street, Tauranga and Cameron Road has gone through several transformations, from a family dwelling to flats to commercial premises. In 1910 Alexander James Mirrielees (1897–1972) arrived in Tauranga from Johnsonville and bought a chemist’s shop on The Strand that had been G Allelly’s business and, at one time, Woods'. As a newcomer he was surprised to find that on days when there were no boats berthed at the wharves, locally known as ‘no boat days,’ the businesses in The Strand closed their doors and the proprietors went fishing. However, the town and harbour suited him and he lived here until his death, aged 95.

Joan Mirrielees, teacher, jouralism, local historian outside their house on Monmouth Street
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-853
Mirrielees bought two sections in Cameron Road on the corner of Monmouth Street for £200, and built the weatherboard house with a corrugated iron roof for £3275. This part of Tauranga was known as The Camp. He built the house during or after 1917 as by then he was paying rates on the property. His wife and three children Joan, Ronald and Elsie lived there. Joan Mirrielees, teacher and journalist became an enthusiastic local historian. She was a member of the Tauranga Historical Society and a recipient of the Tauranga Heritage Award. Ronald kept pigeons in the loft of the house. Mrs Violet Mirrielees predeceased her husband by many years and it may have been then that he divided the house into two flats.

Captain Alexander Mirrielees of the 6th Hauraki Regiment
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-934
Known generally by his military rank, Captain Mirrielees led the local territorial company of the 6th Hauraki Regiment. He was prominent in local politics and organisations, chairing the Tauranga Harbour Board for many years, and was instrumental in locating the industrial area to Sulphur Point. A life member of the Rifle Club he was a champion shot. By 1947 he practised as an optician, which was not unusual for chemists of that time.

Notes by Joan Mirrielees in VF Tauranga City Library, Jinty Rorke, and Tauranga Borough Council rates books.


  1. Very interesting, I stayed in that house as a 3 year old as my Grannie had to go away to a funeral and a friend and her husband lived in the bigger of the two flats. I remember 'helping' Joan who lived in the other one make her bed the next morning. Julie Green

  2. I've always really liked this house. Wonderful to know more about it. Thank you Shirley :)