14 Aldinga Avenue
Holland House, formerly Stead or St Anne's Aldinga is a colonial cob house, built approximately 1850. It has a Category 2 Heritage listing.
About the area
Stoke was once a wetland filled with flax and raupo, with numerous streams running from the hills to the sea. The area was first known as Brook Green but renamed Stoke by William Songer, Captain Wakefield’s personal attendant who arrived in Nelson in 1841. As the first European settler in the area, he named it for his English birthplace of Stoke-by-Nayland in Suffolk, East Anglia. After the flax and raupo were cleared, fruit-growing became the main occupation for settlers in this area by about the mid-1890s.
The property’s first street address was Reeves Street, however it is now 14 Aldinga Avenue. Aldinga is the name the Stead family gave to their property and is a name of Aboriginal origin from a seaside settlement south of Adelaide where they came from.
History of the house
The house, thought to be one of the oldest settler homes in New Zealand still inhabited, was built by George Holland. The house is said to have survived a bad earthquake in the year it was built due to its cob construction. The original section was 25 acres, part of Section 76, Suburban South, issued to George Holland in 1853.
George and Mary Ann Holland
George Holland (1799 to 1876) married Mary Ann White in 1803 in England and the couple arrived in New Zealand on board the Bolton in 1842 with five children. Sadly, the couple lost two other children during the voyage out, their baby son James on 8 January 1842 and a daughter Eliza, age 5, on 22 January 1842. George Holland’s occupation was listed as farmer and he is said to have been the first person to bring hops into New Zealand. After Mary Ann died (two years after her husband) the property passed to their daughter, Sarah Hesseltine, who leased it out before selling to M.F O’Brien.
The property was owned briefly by The Hon. Mr Reeves, a member of the Legislative Council then changed hands several times before being purchased by the Steads in 1914.
Charles & Alice Stead
Charles Vine Stead (1856 to 1946) and Alice Mary Honour (1856 to 1938) married in 1886 and had four children, Charles Rupert (b.1887), William Boswell (b.1890), George Arthur (b. 1892) and Ernest Jalland (b. 1898). The Stead family planted an apple orchard and the house stayed in the Stead family until the 1970s when it went on the market at the then unheard of price of over $200,000. In the 1980s the land was reverted to grazing and was subdivided into residential land throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Mike & Glenda Gepp
Mike and Glenda Gepp who owned the property in the 1990s completed extensive renovations on the house including replacing the iron roof with Welsh slate tiles. They also uncovered the old well and re-clad exterior walls. Mike and Glenda together with another partner, developed the nearby Elizabethan style Honest Lawyer Country Pub Hotel and started the Monaco Hotel and Resort.
Style and Construction
George Holland, who also built nearby Broadgreen House, was the home’s builder. The house is an excellent example of colonial cob construction, made from straw and mud extracted from a pond on the property. Cob was normally a mixture of earth combined with straw and dung and applied wet. As it dried, it would have been pared down with a cob knife to make the surfaces flat and once it dried, it could be plastered or white-washed.
The original cob building had two living areas, two rooms on the ground floor and two bedrooms upstairs. The property was renovated in 1887 when the timber-framed wing was added. The exterior walls of the original building are cob, about 50cm thick; the walls added later are lath and plaster. The upper portion of the house features three identical gables with distinctive carved bargeboards and casement windows. There is a similar gable on one end.
This information was prepared for the Nelson Cancer Society Heritage Homes Tour 2019 (updated 2021)
Sources used in this story
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Further sources - 14 Aldinga Avenue
- Vine, C. (1992). Nelson Observed Portraits of a New Zealand Province. Nelson: The Nelson Institute
- Nelson Historical Society. (1978). Stoke What is in a Name?. Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, September 1978. Retrieved from:
- Gepps Land up for Mortgagee Sale. (2007, November 17). Nelson Mail.
- J. Broadbent, personal communication, March 2019
- Stead Home. Photo News, Volume 79, 2 May 1967. Retrieved from: https://photonews.org.nz/nelson/issue/NPN79_19670527/t1-body-d38.html