Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 4 pm, Weekends and Public Holidays 10am – 2pm.

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 4 pm, Weekends and Public Holidays 10am – 2pm.

$ FREE ADMISSION   24 Victoria St, Cambridge , NZ | CONTACT

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Fun learning experiences for school visits, classroom sessions, heritage walks and for families at home.


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We hope you enjoy this walk.

1.   The Water Tower  

The Water Tower in front of Resthaven on Payne Park, was built in 1903 for £1077 and closed twenty three years later. The contractor was J J Holland and George Russell Fellows was the brick layer. Robert Morse helped to build the tower and with his horse ‘Darkie’, pulleyed the bricks 24 metres to the top. Water was pumped from Moon Creek (beside the Gasworks) to the 90,920 litre tank on the top of the tower.

2. Resthaven

Resthaven (a home for the elderly) was the idea of Mrs Sheila Pidduck who in 1964 put the concept to the Fencourt Country Womens’ Institute members. Enthused with the idea they started fundraising for the nucleus of the funds. A Trust Board, headed by Stan Paine was formed in 1966 and from there, with the backing of the town, the idea grew into reality. Resthaven was officially opened 25 November 1972

3. The Gasworks  

The Gasworks (now the Gaslight theatre) down towards the river off Alpha Street, opened in 1907 at a total cost of £5500. The first retort was charged by Mayor Buckland and the Council Chambers were lit with gas for the first time on 25 April 1907. Additions of a man’s room, coal store and new retorts were made in 1911 and Cambridge also benefitted from the coke, and tar for sealing the streets. Automatic lighting was introduced in 1912 as ‘satisfactory lamplighters are not easy to get’.

The introduction of electricity in 1921, from the Horahora power station curtailed expansions and the plant closed down in November 1954 having run at a loss since 1949.

For many years the old retort house was used as the borough depot until bought by the Cambridge Repertory Society in 1982 to become the very popular ‘Gaslight Theatre’.

4.  13 Hamilton Road 

The brick house on the corner of Hamilton Road and Grey Street is a good example of the Dutch influence to our architecture. G J Veldiwyk built this house as his family home in 1956 for £4620

5.   32 Hamilton Road

Kelvin’ at 32 Hamilton Road was the home of John Ferguson and family. The house was built c1885 with a central gutter roof, concave verandah, ornamental fretwork and hexagonal posts.  John Ferguson & Sons ran a blacksmith business in Lake Street.

6.  Penmarric – Hamilton Road 

After a fire burnt Nurse Helen Russel’s maternity home in 1921, the first floor of the Penmarric building was rebuilt by C W Cooper in 1926 from plans by J T Douce, for £1920. (This hospital was rebuilt with monetary help from the Cambridge community.)

By December 1935 the second storey had been added for £1600 with Mr Osborne the architect and Speight Pearce Nicoll & Davys the builders. (A house on the corner of Hall and Clare Streets was used as temporary accomodation while the work was carried out.) The nursing home became known as ‘Whitiora’ Private Hospital and Maternity Home run by Sisters Lucy McConachie and Alice Pettigrew. The top storey was the maternity wing with surgical cases down stairs. Surgical work was done with co-operation from the local doctors and many Cambridge babies were born under this roof.

When the ‘new’ maternity hospital was built in 1962 ‘Whitiora’ became a geriatric hospital, then boarding house and flats. In 1980 ‘Penmarric’ restaurant was born and became well known for its Devonshire teas; then lunches; and by the late 1980’s it had become a top Waikato restaurant. The building won the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce best building award in 1989 as a refurbished older building and retained many original features such as the wide staircase, open fire places, leadlight windows and brass door knobs. (Both the back and front doors are from the old National Bank building.)

With the interior walls striped of their plaster the bricks were laid bare and many Cambridge diners were able to have a first class meal in the room in which they were born. ‘Penmarric’ is now a private house

7.   2 Thornton Road

2 Thornton Road, ‘Orongo’ was built in 1902 from the plans of architect W J Wrigley. It has always had beautiful gardens and makes an impressive entrance to Cambridge. Among the trees in the garden is a Magnolia on the Protected Tree List.

Along Victoria Street (on the even numbered side) are variations of the Victoria Bay Villa houses. These houses would have been built from the end of 1800s to beginning of the 1900s.

8.   116 Victoria Street

116 Victoria Street is a Bay Villa with a corner entrance surmounted with a pediment and 2 short verandahs.

9.  130 Victoria Street

130 Victoria Street is a square Bay Villa with double gable and verandah but no bay windows.

10.  150 Victoria Street

150 (corner Victoria and King) a Bay Villa with return bullnose verandah and a square bay window with hood and small pediment.

11.  197 Victoria Street

‘Valmai’ at 197 Victoria Street was built of kauri in 1901 for James Hally from the plans of Mitchell & Watt architects. The beautiful ornate Queen Anne architecture is portrayed with many gables, bay windows with coloured glass, fretwork, tall chimneys. And inside pressed zinc ceilings, tiled fire places and painted glass windows in the entrance hall.

Valmai has also seen days as a Doctors surgery, boarding house, Cambridge’s first motel, a Rest Home for the elderly, accommodation for Asian students and now, as Valmai House, a classy Bed and Breakfast.

Protected Trees which were planted here at the beginning of the century include a bunya bunya, rimu, oak, beech, lime and spruce.

12.  Valmai House Gazebo 

The Gazebo in the grounds here was built mainly of kauri 1880 – 81 at Major Wilson’s “Waterside” residence in Wilson Street and moved to Valmai in 1966. Ornate corbels, capitals and coloured glass windows, make this a very unique structure.

13.  62 Williams Street

Another large ornate villa, along the lines of Queen Anne architecture is ‘Tregarthen’ at 62 Williams Street. Built in 1903 with Montalk as architect and Potts and Hardy the builders.

14.  Cambridge Intermediate School –  Clare Street

Cambridge Intermediate School on the corner of Clare and Grey Streets was first established as the Cambridge High School in 1927 – 28 and changed in 1963 when the present High School moved to Swaynes Road. It is known now as the Middle School.

Arbor Days throughout the 1950’s and 60’s saw the planting of many trees and shrubs around the grounds and of special note are the Wych Elms.

Princes Street has a variety of architecture including:

15.  20 Princess Street

There are flat roofed, stucco Art Deco styles.

16.  28 Princess Street

And a small square villa with verandah.

17.  Cr of Grosvenor and Williams Steet

Gowanbank’ on the corner of Grosvenor and Williams Street, was the first two storey rough cast house by architect James T Douce. This house was built for Sam Lewis and family in 1914 for £1572. Similar designs are dotted throughout the district all being built between 1914 and 1928.

(James Thomas Douce arrived in Cambridge c1910 advertising as an Architect – ‘Modern Homes and Bungalows a Speciality’. His success can be seen in the distinctive two storey rough cast houses and wooden bungalows scattered throughout the district. He married Alma Dickinson and when his father in law died in 1923 he took over the family Funeral Parlour and Undertaking business. James and Alma left Cambridge in 1945 when Lloyd Williams bought the Funeral business.)

18. State Houses surrounding the Cambridge East Primary School portray another architectural era in Cambridge buildings. This is the beginning of State Houses in 1938.  In the late 1930s there were more jobs in Cambridge than houses to accommodate workers. Many families were also living in unsuitable houses but were willing to pay higher rents to secure better conditions.

In January 1938 the local building firm of Speight Pearce Nicoll Davys Ltd started work on the first State Houses – four houses in Grosvenor Street including the two corner sections joining Williams and Princes Street, and two houses in Bowen Streets.

In March SPND Ltd won the tender for five more houses – two were semi detached. In May tenders were called for nine more houses in King, William and Princes Streets.

About 100 people turned up when Mr R Coulter MP of Housing opened the Bowen Street houses in August 1938. Mr H Betts and Mr F Von Zalinski were the first tenants

19.  88 Princess Street

88 Princes Street Square house with double hung windows and french doors opening onto return verandahs.

20.  Douce House

And further along a rough cast two storey bungalow built 1920 typical of the architecture introduced by James T Douce.

21.  Piolite House

Along Thornton Road, opposite the Cambridge Domain are more interesting styles – villas, bungalows, art deco and 1980s.

On the corner of Thornton and Bowen Street is a house made of ‘Piolite’ built by F W Prosser in 1914.

22.  18 Thornton Road 

18 Thornton Road is a double gabled Victorian bay villa with coloured glass fan lights and very tall chimneys. It was built by the well known Cambridge builder Fred Potts as his family home, in 1910.

23.  Midlands Hotel / Park House 

In Queen Street is the former private ‘Midlands Hotel’ designed by architect Archibald McDonald in 1928 and built for £5185 – the contractor was W G Clague. It has seen days as a boarding house, Hall of Residence, flats and now ‘Parkhouse’ – a popular Bed and Breakfast

24.  68 Queen Street 

A couple of doors down is an impressive Victorian Villa built about 1901 with ornate fretwork, a square bay window and pediment the same pitch as the gable, bullnose verandah and coloured panes of glass.

25.  Surveyors’ Chain Measure

Outside these houses (up to the corner of Bryce Street) can be seen the remains of the Surveyors’ Chain Measure.

26.  Alpha Lodge Hall

The Alpha Lodge rooms were built in 1930 for £2000. The architect was James T Douce and builders Speight Pearce Nicoll & Davys.

27.  32 Alpha Street

32 Alpha Street is a typical Bay Villa.

28.  16 Dick Street

Formerly The Cambridge Club on the corner of Alpha and Dick streets was built in 1908 by Fred Potts.  The building now owned by Lewis’ Solicitors.

29.  Corner of Wilson and Duke Street.

Cambridge Primary School in Duke Street.

30.  Fort Street  

In Fort Street there are new houses of the late 1990s and early 2000s built on the rise that used to to be Defence Land. The Drill Hall was on this rise, used as a meeting place for Waikato Mounted Rifles, Territorials, Home Guard Etc. The hall was demolished in 1997.

31.  Lockwood Home

Along Fort Street is a Lockwood Home – another popular style of architecture making up Cambridge’s suburban heritage.

32.    24 Victoria Street – The Old Court House 

Cambridge Museum – the home of Cambridge Heritage Trust. A classic government-built building of 1909


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