Voelas Road was one of the early Lyttelton streets. It was an early private road that started from Godley Quay; it originally was a winding path and all the early houses’ front doors faced south onto the path. The Lyttelton Borough Council took it over in 1897 and widened the public road. Houses built after 1897 faced onto the straightened road.
The road got its name from Charlotte Godley’s English home; she was wife of the J.R. Godley who had arrived in Lyttelton prior to the arrival of the ‘ First Four Ships’ on April 12th 1850. Robert Godley was the Chief Agent of the Canterbury Association, their house was built on the Sumner Road; the present day site of the Plunket rooms).
We have learnt a great deal about the everyday lives, attitudes and conditions of the first settlers in Lyttelton from the primary source material of Charlotte Godley’s letters and journals once she arrived in Lyttelton on 13th December 1850 aboard HMS Acheron.
Voelas Road is historically very important but only the lower section was included in the BPDC RESIDENTIAL CONSERVATION AREA** IN THE DISTRICT PLAN despite it containing 16 outstanding heritage buildings and walls, including some very early cottages dating from the 1850s, 1860s and 1870s. Number 30 Voelas Road is one of these, it stands on original Town Sections 266 and 267. (** While the Council acknowledged that there were some dwellings that might by themselves justify protection this did not warrant the entire section of Voelas Road being included in the Residential Conservation Zone.)
This charming cottage c 1865 has an early single cell cottage on its the south side that was integrated into the main cottage which was a four room box cottage with gable roof and veranda, as seen in the old photograph c1880. The exterior of the main cottage is very much as originally built with the original veranda with its simple but attractive wooden ornamentation surviving on the North and West sides.
At the outset the property later numbered number 30, Voelas Road included the whole of the section adjoining it on its seaward side, viz. no. 28. This parcel of land was originally acquired by Crown Grant by The Rt. Hon George, Baron Lyttelton, the Rt Hon Richard Cavendish of Compton Place, Sussex and Sir John Simech of Swanton in the Isle of Wight.
On April 1st 1856 a conveyance was registered from the above gentlemen to John and James Lingard of Lyttelton, Contractors.
The Lingard brothers sold it almost immediately to Rowland Davis, Publican (Canterbury Hotel), for £30, but no conveyance giving a date is registered. On April 15th Rowland Davis sold it to Francis Healey, accountant, for £40, a large profit in 1856! Healey held the property until the next succeeding Conveyance was registered on 9th November 1863. It was at this stage that the whole section was subdivided.
On November 9th 1863 Francis Healey sold it to James Grant, wine merchant of Christchurch, for £30. By March 2nd 1864 it was sold to Issac Normanton Fairhurst, an hotelkeeper of Lyttelton, for £40. Fairhurst raised a mortgage of £400 on the land in August 1865 with Robert Heaton Rhodes, of Purau, with interest payment of £15 a year. When Fairhurst failed to pay this loan, the property went to Rhodes.
It is highly probable that it was around this time that the cottage was built from evidence in the rates records and the electoral roll. The 1869 electoral and also 1869 rates roll has Archibald Morgan and John Albert Morgan living at the House and garden on T.S 266 and 267, Dampiers Bay. The rates record describes J.A. Morgan as a Lyttelton accountant. No conveyance is registered, but Rhodes sells the property to John Albert Morgan, Clerk, of Christchurch.
On July 16th 1878 James Morgan sold to Alexander Reid, Pilot, of Lyttelton, for £320. Alexander Reid died in 1886; in his will he left the land to his son John Steven Reid. As John was a minor, William Bright Allwright, Postmaster and George Agar, Steam launch proprietor, held it in trust for him. On March 12th 1903 the Public Trustee sold the property at auction to Charles William Rowe, an accountant of Wellington, for £250.
On April 28th 1920 the property was sold to John Edward Bromley, Fitter, for £267 10/-. He lived there for over forty years until September 25th 1964 when George Simmonds Bromley, Sheet metal worker of Christchurch, executor to his brother John’s will, sold the cottage to pensioner John Knight in October 1964.
In 1967 on December 6th Robert Henry Fulton, a retired Salesman bought the property. In 1970 Jan Bisman, a Lyttelton Transport Board employee bought the home and a year later the house is owned by Edward William Startup, priest. Ten years later the house was transferred to The Sisters of Mercy Trust Board and on 30th November 1981 it was sold to Mr H.R. Crossman and Mrs L.O Crossman, a retired schoolteacher and his wife. In the last twenty years the cottage has enjoyed four owners who have cared for it and preserved its historic integrity.
Liza Rossie. 2006