The History of Dovecote House

The land the Dovecote house sits on was originally part of a bigger piece of land known as Lot 6, purchased by surveyor George Owen Ormsby of Onehunga in September 1859.

Lot 6 comprised of 2 roods, 30 perches (2,708 sq.m) was situated on the corner block on the beach and bounding Esplanade Road and Marine Parade, now known as Endeavour Street and Taunton Terrace.

George Ormsby died in 1862, it was not until August 1888 that the land was sold by Arthur Brabant of Brookfield & Co Solicitors of Auckland through the will of George Owen Ormsby. The purchaser of the land being William Paice.

The city valuation roll from 30 August 1911 shows William Paice crossed out and J. Harrison of Karangahape Road written as the new owner. The land now had a rateable value of 30 pounds, this would appear to be on bare land. The next entry is the sale of lot 6 for 105 pounds, “all that parcel of land in Lot.6, of Whau Township South, in the Parish of Waikomiti.”

Another entry from 1913 shows Lot 6 has 135 pounds improvement and 75 pounds unimprovement, giving a total value of 210 pounds. The valuation shows the land value increase from 30 pounds to 75 pounds, but improvements of 135 pounds indicate that a dwelling has been constructed between 1912 and 1913. (Harrison House)

There is no significant history on Lot 6 until 1930. It is interesting to note that in 1927 the address that would later become 85 Endeavour Street is listed as “The Lookout, Blockhouse Bay”

Between 1930 and 1931 Lot 6 is subdivided into 3 new lots. Lot 3 became No.85, with an area of 667 sq.m, Lot 2 became No.83 with an area of 629 sq.m and Lot 5 became No.81 of 760 sq.m

In 1937/38 the new owner of No.85 was T.N Cookson, James Harrison being recorded as deceased.

In November 1939, City Council Parks employee, W K (Bill) Munro, was appointed Blockhouse Bay Reserve Caretaker. Bill’s diary entry from December 1939 reads: “I shall be moving to Blockhouse Bay, it is impossible to get a house, but I have managed to arrange something not very much to the liking of my wife and young family as far as rent is concerned, that is a house where we have to board the owner and pay him eighteen shillings a week into the bargain.”

1947 sees the Auckland City Council purchase the house at 85 Endeavour Street for use by the Beach caretaker.

The council spent 230 Pounds on external painting and repairs, and charged the caretaker 1 pound, 5 shillings weekly rental.

By 1965 the CV had risen to 2850 Pounds, and Munro’s rent had gone up to 4 Pounds 5 shillings per week.

By 1970 the CV was now $4,400 and Munro was paying $22.50 per week. Bill and Kitty Munro together with their children John, Margaret, Bill and Heather lived at 85 Endeavour Street from 1939 to 1973.

By 1976 the insurance value was $11,900. The garage was erected for the city council by Skyline Garages in 1978.

In 1981 the council conducted a “review of economic rental caretakers house” with detailed assessment of the condition of the house and grounds. It is noted in this report that the dwelling is dated as “constructed in 1920” this is incorrect.

In 1989 Auckland City Council sold the house at 85 Endeavour Street to Mr & Mrs Sinclair for $115,000. In October 1991 the Sinclair’s engaged the services of an architect to design additions to the cottage. This included the addition of the top story and the basic landscaping of the grounds around the house.

The current owner, Warwick Pudney purchased the house in June 2001 for $320,000. In September 2014 the house was sold into a family trust for $780,000. As of July 2017 the rateable value of the house is $1,225,000.

Your hosts moved into Dovecote house in December 2019, and have spent the last 9 months restoring the grounds and making minor changes and improvements to the interior of the house.