Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pioneer Cottages in Miniature

Waipu Museum's Miniature Pioneer Cottage
I've been up at Waipu today. It's a little village that was settled in the 1850s by Scottish immigrants who came there via Nova Scotia. That heritage is still celebrated today, with Highland Games every New Years Day and a Scottish week in winter. I remembered from a previous visit to the museum that there were some model cottages there so I went back for a closer look.
   Made by Bob Tillet, these scale models give an excellent idea of what types of dwellings the early pioneers constructed. Timber in the area was plentiful so early buildings were built of wood rather than stone as they would be in Scotland.
   Kitty Slick's House was built in the 1880s for Duncan Slick and Rebecca McLean. From the 1930s till her death in 1950, it was lived in by a single woman, Catherine (Kitty) McLean.
The Story of Kitty Slick's House
The local children called her Kitty Slick and teased her about being a witch. After her death, the house was neglected and became derelict, adding to the eerie mystery. It was easy to imagine it being haunted. 

Kitty and Rebecca McLean

The other miniature cottage on display is a model of the first one built for the settlers' leader, Norman McLeod. Also constructed of timber, the original had a wooden shingled roof, rather than the corrugated iron one on the model.
Model of McLeod's Cottage
Looking at the miniature buildings it was easy to imagine the lives lived by those first settlers, working through many hardships to carve out a civilised settlement that honoured their heritage.
  It was an interesting visit.

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