Topic: Hall-McCaul House, 181 Kairau Road East (1882)

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Hall-McCaul House 2019

2019 View: By Hamish Crimp

This one-and-a-half story cottage was constructed by Benjamin Hall as his family home in 1882. Benjamin Hall married Fanny Isabella Bennett in 1873 at Binbrook, Lincoln, England. They emigrated to New Zealand aboard the Clarence, arriving in the Hawkes Bay on 05 January 1875. They resided in Auckland for a time, before relocating to Taranaki, where in August 1882, Benjamin purchased the southern portion of Section 122, and the northern portion of Section 121, Waitara West District; the sections were sold as part of the deceased estate of William Halse Esq. The original portion of the cottage is thought to have been constructed soon after the purchase of the section.

Fanny was a midwife, and attended to expectant mothers across the district. The rear portion of the cottage was constructed later as a maternity room where babies could be born under Fanny’s care. Tragically, Benjamin died of pneumonia at the house on 30 August 1889 aged just 38, and is buried at Huirangi Cemetery. The death of Benjamin left Fanny to look after their nine children on her own. Ownership of the property was transferred to Fanny, and she and her children continued to farm the property. In 1896 the farm was enlarged through the purchase of the remainder of Section 122.

The property was leased to ‘Johnstone’ in August 1910, and boring rights, presumably for oil, were granted to Watkins and Fox in December 1911. In August 1912 the lease was transferred from Johnstone to Walter McCaul Snr, who eventually purchased the property in November 1918. Walter Snr resided on the property with his wife Martha and their children. In 1920, following the death Walter Snr, Walter Jnr and his wife Annie took over the farm. Walter Jnr’s son Walter (known as Lex), and his wife Edna, took over the farm following his return from the Second World War. Later, Lex’s son Ian and his wife took over management of the farm. In the 1930s the property was purchased by Owen and Rachael Hoskin, who farmed the property until the 1960s.

See: Taranaki Land Deeds Index I11, page 398; and Wilson, Peter Thomas, Even the dogs have forgotten to bark : the events and people of Lepperton, Sentry Hill and Waiongona

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