Monday, 21 May 2012

"Willowgrove" Ohoka

"Willowgrove" was the name given to my ancestors' farmhouse in Ohoka.  It appears that my ancestor Karl Meng bought the land from the Crown in 1873 so this indicates that the land would probably have been bare when he took possession.  Karl probably had the farmhouse built around 1873.

Karl probably lived in the house with his family for close to ten years when he moved to 30 Antigua Street with his second wife Sarah Winfield Potts (nee Brown).  After Karl died in 1885 the property went to his three daughters. Edwin and Mary Lord took on the property in about 1896 and lived there until 1919 after which the moved to Papanui Road, Christchurch.   

In February 1997 my Mum and I visited the property and talked to tenants in the new 1960s style house who said we were welcome to look around the old farmhouse.   It was in a terrible state.  We were told not to go upstairs as it was rotten and we could have gone through the floorboards.  Downstairs there were two bedrooms, a lounge and a dining room and a tiny galley kitchen with cloakroom and pantry at the back.  Upstairs were four bedrooms which were accessed by two sets of stairs facing each other.  A very strange set up but it worked well as when farm labourers stayed they had their own staircase to their bedrooms, separate from Edwin and Mary's two daughters' bedrooms.  There were 8 rooms in total and there used to be a glassed in piece of veranda which was used by Mary as a green house.  In 2012 the property is numbered 625 Mill Road, Ohoka.

Here is a photo of "Willowgrove" in the early 1900s when Edwin and Mary Lord owned it and a photo of it in Feb 1997.  My Great Grandma grew up at "Willowgrove" and always told stories about it with such joy.  She died in April 1997 and a short time after we drove back past the house and it had been bulldozed.

The farmhouse at Ohoka
Ohoka Farmhouse
Map of Ohoka farm land 1897 from Edwin Lord lease grayscale
Willowgrove sketch 2 Willowgrove sketch 1

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