Golder’s Cottage

John Golder
Built cottage in 1876

John Golder
1849-1902

John Golder was the sixth and last child of William Golder (1810 - 1876) & Mary Golder (nee Taylor). He was educated in the Hutt and later helped his father on the 44 acre farm, "Mountain Home", on the hill in Belmont Road (now Normadale Road) overlooking Lower Hutt.


In 1870 he and his brother James moved to Upper Hutt and were working for James & George Brown for several years. John Golder was a road builder for the Wellington Provincial Council and, later, for the Hutt County Council, where he eventually rose to prominence. He was a great diarist and accurately recorded his works each day. The family still has these 5 work diaries that cover the period 1874 to 1900.



Slideshow of photos taken at the cottage


In 1876 John built Straven Cottage on Fergusson Drive, formerly Main Road, Upper Hutt on land given to them by Alexander Martin. The house followed the pattern of those of the times. It was a simple double gable and lean to, shingle roofed cottage comprising of two rooms downstairs and two attic rooms upstairs and a living room and verandah across the front. Cooking was done on an open fire, there was no bathroom and a pump gave the the only water supply. A food store for bulk foods and preserves stood at the left back of the house with a cool store for milk and butter. The pump and food store are still there and can be seen today.


John married Jane Martin on 19 April 1877. This marriage brought together the Golder, Brown and Martin families, pioneers of the early days in the Hutt Valley.


They had 12 children who were raised on the property :-

Water pump Cool Store

Alexander (Alex) William (1878 - 1968)
John (Johnny) Anthony (1879 - 1968)
Francis Joseph (1881 - 1954)
William (Brother (1883 - 1948)
Mary Elizabeth (1885 - 1918)
Bertran James (1887 - 1980)
Thomas Charles (1887 - 1980)
Agnes Jane (1889 - 1972)
Theresa Isabella (1893 - 1988)
Ellen (Nell) Aloysius (1893 - 1979)
Linus Bernard (1898 - 1918)
Vincent Augustine
(1899 - 1902)

Jane was very busy with no power, only lamps and candles for light, and a fireplace for cooking. Sometime in 1880's, a kitchen and bedroom were added at the rear and a coal range was installed. At this stage there were six children by then. There is an entry in his diary that in 1889, Jan 9 that "Alex and John, the two oldest, put to sleep upstairs" showing that it was an important occassion. I can remember when they died in 1968 that they were still living in the rooms in the attic. Access to the upstairs rooms was via a steep staircase that was concealed when an outer door was opened. It was built to look like a cupboard in case of a maori uprising. Fortunately they got on well with the Upper Hutt Maori.