Report - Monk Cottage, Wellington - March 2016

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Is this the future?
Regular User
Mar 16, 2014

Monk Cottage, located next door to St. Patrick’s Church, was constructed sometime in the 1860s, when European settlement took place after gold was discovered in the area. The small church, which is listed with the Historic Places Trust, was a community owned church built later in 1873. It is estimated that the value of both premises amounts to around $40,000. Although very little history exists surrounding Monk Cottage, which is now also community owned, several reports suggest it was the former home to each of the reverends of the church. The community’s plan for both sites is now to preserve them, and save each from being demolished in the future. Over the years the church has remained largely intact as it is still used for community events such as weddings, other festive occasions and funerals; contrariwise, the general condition and integrity of the cottage has been left to deteriorate. Although there is no sign of water damage, Monk Cottage has been subject to vandalism and, since its paint has worn away over time, the effects of the weather. Many years ago there was also a path leading up to Monk Cottage, but today it has almost completely disappeared.

Our Version of Events

If you leave Wellington and take a little drive towards Makara, following the windy road through areas of open grassland and forest, you are likely to stumble across Monk Cottage. It’s very easy to miss, so you need to keep your eyes peeled; and if you do, you’re sure to spot the little gem. After our scenic journey through New Zealand’s magnificent landscape, we parked the car and walked straight up to the old house. Although there are other buildings around, and there’s a nearby road, we didn’t see any other people, so accessing the building felt a little too easy. The whole time we were there I was expecting an angry farmer, or a curious passer-by, to collar us. Fortunately, this didn’t happen.

As we approached the dusty house from the front garden I couldn’t help but think that the entire structure looked as though it belonged in the Wild West. If there had been horses and cowboys around, they would have blended in quite nicely. Once we were inside my imaginings weren’t spoiled either; the whole building, and the things inside it, looked as though they also belonged in Dodge City. All we were missing was the whisky and a couple of harmonicas. On the whole the building is very small, as you might expect, but there was something marvellous about the entire thing.

The dusty boards creaked beneath our shoes as we walked from room to room. Unlike most abandoned places, the smell was woody, rather than the usual musty stench of mould. Most of the cracked wood seemed slightly rotten, but it was baked dry instead of damp. Almost all of the old paint inside was chipped or peeling from the walls and, where the wallpaper had fallen off under the stairs, we found some very old newspaper that looked as though it has been plastered onto the wooden boards a long time ago. After spending twenty minutes taking photos, and playing with the piano for a while, it was agreed we’d seen all there was to see and that it was time to saddle up and move on.

We closed the door carefully behind us as we left; it was time to hit the saloon and try our hand at a game of poker. The baked grass crunched as we waked back towards the road. Our camera bags hung low, to assure smoothness in drawing our Nikons with a steady hand, should we have felt the need to draw at any moment. I held a long steady gaze, taking in my full surroundings. We knew, right then, with our confident sauntering, triggerless remotes and 64gb memory cards there wasn’t any room for anyone else in this town. If I’d had a hat I would have pulled it down low, covering my face like Clint Eastwood. Alas, I didn’t, and more to the point, I suddenly realised I was daydreaming. So, instead, we simply got back in the car and set off back into Wellington in search of more explores.

Explored with Nillskill and Zort.

1: Monk Cottage and Barn


2: Monk Cottage


3: The Piano


4: The Piano Up Close Up


5: The Lawnmower


6: Lawnmower and Sinks


7: Stag's Head and Fireplace


8: Stag's Head Close Up


9: The Stove


10: The Staircase


11: Upstairs Chair


12: Upstairs


13: Upstairs: The Other Side


14: The Newspaper Under the Stairs (Overcoats for Every Man Advert at the Bottom)

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