Everything about Fellworth is on a grand scale: it holds a commanding viewpoint dominating Nelson and facing due west along Bridge Street, the main downstairs reception rooms have ceiling heights of 4.3 metres (14ft), the total area of the first and second floors is 620 sq. metres (6,670sq. ft), and it is built entirely out of native timbers: rimu, totara, matai and kauri. The builder and architect, John Scotland, also built the Provincial Government Buildings (now demolished) and Melrose. The house was erected in 1876.
John Sharp, the original owner, was also a “big” man. He was registrar of the Supreme Court, provincial treasurer, resident magistrate for three years, a partner in the Kent Brewery with T. H. Harley, had interests in real estate and an auction firm and was mayor of Nelson from 1888 to 1890. A member of the Nelson Volunteer Rifles, the Nelson Bowling Club and a Freemason, he died in 1919 at the age of 90 years.
Fellworth has been used for many purposes: the Cawthron Institute’s base from 1920 to 1970, a wedding and events venue and a backpackers’ hostel. Today, it is in the very capable hands of the Djukanovic family trust. It is available to the public for functions both big and small and there are several rooms available for bed and breakfast accommodation. It’s restoration is on-going but it certainly reflects the grandeur of its Edwardian past and is a credit to the last two owners who have done most of the work. It is a building we can all feel proud of.