“The Gables” at Waimea West


On 26th September, 2013, a good muster of old and new members enjoyed Warren Thomas’s talk on “The Gables” in the Tasman District Library.

Warren Thomas, a direct descendant of John Palmer who built "The Gables".

Warren Thomas, a direct descendant of John Palmer who built “The Gables”.

Warren is a direct descendant of John Palmer (1816-98) who built the Gables in 1865 beside the main road between Brightwater and the Moutere.  It comprised a store, accommodation and held a “Bush Licence” which in those days could be purchased for 20 pounds.  This was the third shop and accommodation house built by the Palmers; the first two were on other parts of their 1,000 acre holding at Waimea West.

Warren focused on the construction and layout of the house and his attempts at restoration.   It was built of 60,000 bricks manufactured on site, native timbers and was constructed in 4 months.  The design was based on a house in Ipswitch where the Palmers  originated.

The Waimea Inn and store ("The Gables") about 1865.

The Waimea Inn and store (“The Gables”) about 1865.

Although the base runners were Matai, unfortunately the use of White Pine was prevalent and it has suffered from borer infestation over the years.  Warren personally experienced this when part of the flooring collapsed under him during renovations.  Another problem was   dry rot caused by  the lack of sufficient ventilation at ground level.  Several of the air vents in the foundation had been partially blocked by bitumen laid on paving along the frontage of the house.

The Gables today bathed in the setting sun.  Is this the end of the road for an historic building?

The Gables today bathed in the setting sun. Is this the end of the road for an historic building?

The house holds an Historic Places Trust Category A rating, but this did not help when Warren applied to the local council for approval to fully renovate and restore the old building.  For him it eventually was put in the “too hard basket” and he has since moved on.  One wonders if this is nearly the end of the road for one of the oldest colonial buildings in the Waimea area.

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One response

  1. This place is beautiful my mother lives on waimea west. I have been past this place a few times and wish it could be fixed, so beautiful. I Have looked up this place to find out more I find it exquisite.I wish I could save, I have taken photos when going past. Im in love with the beauty, what a shame to lose if not repaired. Im sorry to see that warren found it in the too hard basket hopefully nelson will save this place. what a beautiful piece of history

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