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A chance to own a piece of NZ history

A chance to own a piece of NZ history

18 December 2013

It is a slice of New Zealand history located in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, St Bathans, Central Otago, and it’s for sale.

The historic School Master’s Cottage in the old gold mining settlement has recently been listed with Harcourts Alexandra.

The stone cottage was built in the 1870s and lies directly below the ruins of the old school, where the children who were brought to the area by the gold rush were educated.

Nearby is the beautiful and renowned Blue Lake, which was created after miners sluiced gold off a 120m hill leaving a 69m hole that filled with water.

Sales consultant Carol Stafford says St Bathans has a rich heritage, which is still very evident today in its beautifully restored buildings. The School Master’s Cottage is an integral part of this.

She says St Bathans was once located on wetland, but after gold was discovered in 1863 the town quickly grew.

By 1864 1000 people lived there and there were 15 hotels, gambling and dance halls, as well as five general stores. In 1865 the town’s name was officially changed from Dunstan Creek to St Bathans, after the Scottish estate belonging to the chief Otago surveyor John Turnbull.

Mining ceased in St Bathans in 1931 after around 2834kg of gold had been extracted.

As a result the population quickly decreased and by the 1940s the school roll had dropped to less than 20. In 1943 the school was damaged by an earthquake and closed. It was moved to the post office building and eventually shut in 1949.

Another famous feature of St Bathans is the Vulcan Pub, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a prostitute who was strangled there.

Carol Stafford says the current owners assure her there are no supernatural guests at the School Master’s Cottage, which contains two bedrooms, one bathroom, separate kitchen, dining and living and sits on a 379sqm section.

It has been lovingly restored and still retains some original features and character, including a coal range oven and stained glass window.


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