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Last modified: 20 Jun 2022 4:36pm

a large wooden heritage house painted grey and white standing surrounded by a green lawn

Sitting amongst trees and fields in Windwhistle, with a backdrop of the Malvern Hills and scenic views of Mount Hutt, it’s no wonder the son of New Zealand’s former Prime Minister, Sir John Hall chose this location to build a home for himself.

Built by hand, hammer, nails and quality workmanship in 1912, Gunyah Country Lodge still stands with all of its original coloured Edwardian hand-painted wallpaper, light fittings and restored leadlight windows.

Simonetta Ferrari, owner of the estate for the last 20 years, says the building never ceases to amaze her with its durability.
“It’s 110 years old, I don’t see why it shouldn’t last another 100. There’s not a great deal of buildings like this left in this area.”

To help keep the building maintained and retaining its early 20th Century character, Simonetta usesthe Council’s heritage fund.
Previous owners had installed a 1960s ceiling in the kitchen and a 1960s window on the eastern side. Simonetta used the fund to help reinstall the original window and knock out the lowered kitchen ceiling to uncover the original dark rimu ceiling.

“I put it back to what it was, and the whole feel of the place changed dramatically.”

Other repairs financed by the fund include fixing walls knocked down by north-west winds, repairing an earthquake damaged roof, fixing the hangar and replacing aged and rotting wood. Most recently, some windows are being remade and builders are onsite fixing the south side of the homestead.

Simonetta says she was very grateful to receive the latest funds in 2020 and 2021.
“The job we are doing now is pretty major, and really expensive, so any contribution is most welcome. I would be a lot slower at doing the jobs that need doing around here, if there wasn’t that extra contribution.”

These repairs benefit the whole community, she says.
“It’s not just me that benefits, it’s the wider public in general and anyone that has an interest in history, heritage, architecture, and colonial times. Anyone who appreciates beautiful things from the past.”

Applications for 2022 Selwyn Heritage Fund are open. Applications close 5pm Tuesday 15 July 2022.

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