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Vallance Cottage guide


Vallance Cottage Working Group







An extract from the 2016 Conservation Plan for Vallance Cottage: “Vallance Cottage, situated at the end of Samson Street on the Alexandra town belt above the Manuherikia River valley, was hand-built by a Scottish goldminer, William Vallance in 1896-97 as the beginning of a family home for his wife Jean and their eight children; their first, William, was born in 1899. The cottage is constructed of earth and was initially just two rooms divided by a passage, with a corrugated iron roof and a small garden.

Around 1909 William extended the cottage with a further three rooms, creating a kitchen, scullery and additional bedroom and a mud brick wash house to the rear. Piped water remained only to the wash house however and a traditional food safe was used to cool and preserve food.

The last of William and Jean’s children, Ernest, was born in 1916 when his eldest sibling, William, was seventeen. The family maintained a modest, but busy life; the basic lifestyle in the small cottage meant that there were daily chores to be undertaken by everyone, and some of hard graft for both Jean and William. However, there was still time for playing along the river and exploring the nearby gold workings, some of which William Snr still worked from time-to-time.

Many colourful and vivid memories have been collected by Vallance family members over the years, creating a family archive of stories and photographs that are integral to the cottage’s history and interest.”

The Vallance Cottage Working Group (the Group), in conjunction with the Central Otago District Council (CODC) and the Vincent Community Board (VCB) are tasked with the presentation and representation of historic Vallance Cottage.

Vallance family members, our community, and CODC, recognise the significance of the cottage, the family, and the simpler way of life as part of our history and ongoing learning.

Currently the cottage is only open to the public twice a year; once over Waitangi weekend and once as a part of the Blossom Festival. The Vallance Cottage Working Group would love to have the cottage open more regularly for everyone to enjoy, and are calling for registrations of interest from volunteers to be on a roster for the 2021 spring - 2022 summer season to be a guides at the property between 10 – 2pm at weekends.

Duties would involve opening the cottage, putting open signs and flags up, welcoming and engaging with people coming through, recording details of the people who visited, and at the end of the day removing the open day signs and flags and locking up the cottage again.

Please note: there is no running water, power, or toilet facilities at the cottage.


People with an interest in local history and enjoy sharing this with others.

Time commitment

On a shared roaster basis over 2021 spring - 2022 summer between 10 – 2pm at weekends. Ideally if we have enough interest this could be split into two two hour shifts of 10 - 12 noon and 12 - 2pm.

Getting started

The first step is to express your interest by filling out the form below. We will then put you in touch directly with the organisation for more information on the role and how to proceed.

Ref: 2030

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