Stoddart House, a 368 square metre villa set on a 22-hectare foreshore property at Kawakawa Bay, recently went on sale by tender after the trust decided it was no longer suitable as a residence for at risk youth.
Despite the change of use over the years, the trust has taken great care to retain the atmosphere of another time. Featuring kauri ceilings, french doors and an ornate covered veranda, the house exudes grace and gentility.
It was built about 1904 when Captain F Colbeck bought the 836ha property. The house was called Freshwater and the land was used for a pedigree stud farm. In 1910, Captain Humphries-Davies — famous for his collection of Chinese porcelain, bronzes and jade — bought part of the property containing the house.
In 1949, John Stoddart and his wife, formerly farmers at Waipukurau in Hawke’s Bay, purchased the house and, after retiring from active farming in 1959, they gifted their house and farm to the trust.
A colonial look is created by the timber french doors, which open from all the rooms onto the veranda, while art-deco glass panes in some of the windows and interior doors provide a splash of colour.
Taking the breath away is the wide entrance hall, which runs the length of the house framed with kauri panels on each wall to match the high stud ceilings. Although the hall’s walls have been painted white in more recent years, the panelling and grand arches transport visitors back to a more genteel age.
These days what is thought to be the original front entrance is no longer used for that purpose and the portico area has been converted into a bathroom. But step inside the hallway and two ornate columns rising from a low dividing wall are set to impress, suggesting this is the place where guests were received. And, immediately off the hall, is a small receiving room complete with small fireplace.
Heavy double sliding doors run between the dining room and formal living room, which boasts a large fireplace displaying the graceful curving lines of the Victorian era. All three rooms lead through the elegant french doors to the veranda facing the sea.
Depending on its future use, Stoddart House visitors may arrive in an array of transport from limousines to buses. But if it’s restored to its former glory, they will not help but experience the atmosphere of those who, in a more gracious time, rolled up to this grand house after a leisurely journey by horse and cart.
THE Anglican Trust for Women and Children is one of Auckland’s oldest charities for women and children, with origins stretching back to 1858.
Although the trust no longer runs orphanages, it supports up to 3000 children and their families in the Auckland region through programmes run at home, in schools and in the community.