Golder’s Cottage Museum

707 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt
Wellington, New Zealand

Golder Cottage
Golder Cottage sign

The Golder Cottage originally named "Straven Cottage" is one of the earliest pioneer homes of Upper Hutt. For those who like a glimpse of the past, Golder Cottage, is a window into the life in the 1870 - 1940’s. John orginally named it Straven Cottage because his father William Golder was born and lived in Strathaven, Scotland before immigrating to New Zealand in 1840.

The cottage was built by John Golder in 1876 (additions made up until 1920), the preserved cottage and artifacts, reflect early life in New Zealand. The cottage has a fascinating collection of memorabilia from the era. Much of the furniture exhibited was made by John Golder himself and other items on display have always had their home in the cottage. The additions to the house in 1880, 1900 and 1920 reflect the growing size of the Golder family. The property also contains a hen house, laundry, toilet, dairy, water pump, and foodstore.

This is an historic house and museum all in one. Stroll around the cottage and grounds and view the beautiful garden that includes a new native kowhai tree, a replacement to a 100 years old one that was rotting due to decay in the branches (poisoned by emissions from all the traffic going by?) that became dangerous. The new kowhai growing up now is of the same genus (supplied by the UH City Council). Some of the original shrubs and trees that can be seen in the garden. the swing attached to the Kowhai features in a family photograph taken in 1900 and can be seen from the hallway.

There is also a spiral herb garden, fruit trees and old fashioned roses that are featured in the front and back gardens.

The grounds are an ideal setting for wedding photographs and are increasingly being used for this purpose.

The Purpose of the Museum

  • To show how the Golder family would have lived during Victorian times, in a faithfully preserved original setting

  • To retain and preserve in good condition an original piece of Upper Hutt history in its original setting

  • To allow public access to the property

  • To encourage the use of the museum by schools and groups of visitors

  • To maintain grounds and gardens and provide for craft workshop and gallery for local groups

  • To receive on loan/gift, items that are typical of the era and display them appropriately
  • The Family

    John Golder (1849-1902) was a man of many skills, housebuilder, woodturner, furniture maker-the ultimate "DIY" man. John built this cottage in 1876 and with his wife, Jane, brought up a family of 12 children.

    It was lived in by members of the Golder family for over 100 years until 1985 and was then restored externally and has operated as a museum since 1990. It exhibits original furnishings, memorabilia and photographs of the family. There have been many donations of artifacts etc. from others.

    The original form of the cottage was a simple gable, shingle clad roof with two rooms upstairs and two down, and a veranda across the front. It has had three additions to form the dwelling now standing on the historic site.

    The Cottage

    A voluntary committee maintain the cottage and grounds. Financial assistance is provided by admission money and various trusts. Annual running costs are in the order of $5,000. Donations and other assistance is always welcome.