Topic: John Cameron's Cottage, 93 Domett Street (1871)

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93 Domett Street Open2View

Image courtesy of Open2View 

This attractive board and batten cottage was constructed for John Cameron in 1871, and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Waitara.

John Cameron purchased Section 4 of Block XLIII from 'Carrington' in September 1871, and in October 1871, advertised for tenders for the "erection of a dwelling house at Waitara" - construction likely commenced soon after this date.

Tenders for John Cameron Dwelling House Waitara, TH 14 October 1871, p.1

Taranaki Herald, 14 October 1871 

Prior to shifting to Waitara, Cameron was a surfboat operater in New Plymouth; and was involved in ferrying goods and passengers to shore from ships anchored in the roadstead. This was an important, yet dangerous job in a town that did not yet have a safe harbour; with neither the railway to Waitara, nor the Moturoa Breakwater yet constructed. In 1868 a boat he was commanding flipped in rough weather, and in 1870 he was assaulted by a man named George Cock from another surfboat. He announced he had sold his 'lighterage' business to Alexander Davidson in March 1871, just prior to shifting to Waitara.

Cameron lived in this cottage until his death on 20 January 1924, and is buried in Waitara Cemetery. 

93 Domett Street, April 1951, Whites Aviation Aerial Photograph 

April 1951 view of cottage before removal of first floor: Whites Aviation Aerial Image, National Library Collection 

Whilst this cottage retains many original features including vertical board and batten cladding, 12-light double-hung sash windows, and some internal doors etc. photographs reveal that this cottage originally had another floor, and a higher, more steeply pitched roof in a similar style to Hurworth Cottage on Carrington Road. This floor was likely occupied by two or more bedrooms, and appears to have been removed prior to the 1970s, as whilst it is clearly present in images of Waitara taken from the 1870s through to the 1950s, it is not present in Whites Aviation aerial images taken in the 1970s. There would be scope for reinstating the first floor, and returning the cottage to its original state. 

As a pre-1900 building, any alterations to the cottage, or earthworks on the property, may require archaeological authority from Heritage New Zealand. 

See Taranaki Land Deeds Index I10, page 89; and DP3412

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John Cameron's Cottage, 93 Domett Street (1871)


City:New Plymouth