Golders Cottage Museum

707 Fergusson Drive
Upper Hutt, Wellington
New Zealand

Golders Cottage

Golders Cottage sign









Heritage Today
April - May 2015 Newsletter
features Golders Cottage


Golders Cottage is one of the earliest pioneer homes of Upper Hutt. For those who like a glimpse of the past, Golders Cottage, is a window into the life in the 1870 - 1940’s. John Golder, the builder of the home, orginally named it Straven Cottage because his father William Golder was born and lived in Strathaven, Scotland before immigrating to New Zealand in 1840.

The cottage was built by John in 1876 (additions made up until 1920). The preserved cottage and artifacts, reflect early life in New Zealand and it has a fascinating collection of memorabilia from that era. Much of the furniture exhibited was made by John Golder himself and other items on display have always had their home in the cottage. The additions to the house in 1880, 1900 and 1920 reflect the growing size of the Golder family. The property also contains a hen house, laundry, toilet, dairy, water pump, and foodstore.

This is an historic house and museum all in one. Stroll around the cottage and grounds and view the beautiful garden that includes a new native kowhai tree, a replacement to a 100 years old one that was rotting due to decay in the branches that became dangerous (may have been poisoned by emissions from all the traffic passing nearby). The new kowhai, supplied by the UH City Council, is of the same genus as the original tree. The swing attached to the Kowhai tree features in a family photograph taken in 1900 and can be seen from the hallway. Some of the original shrubs and trees still exist in the garden.

There is also a spiral herb garden, fruit trees and old fashioned roses that are featured in the front and back gardens.

The grounds are an ideal setting for wedding photographs and are increasingly being used for this purpose.

Purpose of the Museum

1. To show how the Golder family would have lived during Victorian times, in     a faithfully preserved original setting
2. To retain and preserve in good condition an original piece of Upper Hutt       history in its original setting
3. To allow public access to the property
4. To encourage the use of the museum by schools and groups of visitors
5. To maintain grounds and gardens and provide for craft workshop and            gallery for local groups
6. To receive on loan/gift, items that are typical of the era and display them      appropriately

Golder Family

John Golder (1849-1902) was a man of many skills – housebuilder, woodturner, furniture maker – the ultimate "DIY" man. John built this cottage in 1876 and with his wife, Jane, brought up a family of 12 children in it.


It was lived in by members of the Golder family for over 100 years until 1985 and was then restored externally and has operated as a museum since 1990. It exhibits original furnishings, memorabilia and photographs of the family. There have been many donations of artifacts etc. from others.


The original form of the cottage was a simple gable, shingle clad roof with two rooms upstairs and two down, and a veranda across the front. It has had three additions to form the dwelling now standing on the historic site.


A voluntary committee maintain the cottage and grounds. Financial assistance is provided by admission money and various trusts. Annual running costs are in the order of $5,000. Donations and other assistance is always welcome.