Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Anderson Park- Georgian Homestead

Finally the weather eased up a little; it’s been very windy with passing rain showers on & off for over a week now, I’m sure summer will arrive soon, but in the meantime we have still been able to do a few outings with the family. After initially having a quick drive through Anderson Park on the whistle stop tour of Invercargill when we first arrived, we returned to have a wander through the grounds of the park. This was also where the beautiful house that I mentioned at the end of the Heritage Building post is located.

This stunning & elegant house is of neo-Georgian style and was built during 1924-25 at a cost of £15,000 for a prominent Invercargill businessman Sir Robert Anderson (knighted in 1934 for his generous contributions to society & business)
Sir Robert & Lady Anderson bought a neglected 300 acre block of land in 1910 that included 50 acres of native bush, they were keen gardeners & and established  extensive flower gardens & lawns around the homestead.
It was their wish that  after their deaths, the house & gardens, including a block of native bush, be gifted to the city to be used as a public park. The house is now an Art Gallery displaying a wide selection of New Zealand art and a pavillion & children’s playground have since been added in the grounds.
Located behind the house is a Maori wharepuni (meeting house) which was completed in 1920, well before the main residence. Sir Robert had an interest in Maori artefacts & commissioned Tene Waitere, a famous Rotorua carver, to carve suitable pieces for the whare. It was also built with a sprung dance floor for social occasions & Sir Robert’s youngest daughter’s wedding was held there in 1932- it is actually bigger inside than it looks.
Walking through the interior (where photos weren't allowed) it wasn't hard to imagine that not too long ago the house would have been alive with formal dinner parties & other high society gatherings. Anderson Park is another wonderful asset to the residents of Invercargill city.

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