Roselle — 82 Shore Road, Remuera

Martyn Wilson Home [1]

by Elizabeth Jean Chalmers.

In 1948 Mr. Martyn Wilson of Wilson and Horton (NZ Herald Newspaper Publishers) indicated that he would be prepared to bequeath his lovely old home “Roselle” and fifteen acres of land at Shore Road plus ₤10 000 to the Saint Kentigern Trust Board. This magnificent gift was accepted and a junior Presbyterian School for Boys was set up.

In the early days before Saint Kentigern School opened in February 1959 the lovely old home and grounds were used a lot for entertaining the people of Auckland. The YWCA held its annual picnic there – a fabulous picnic area with extensive lawns and beautiful trees set in spacious gardens with wonderful views across the harbour.

YWCA Auckland, picnic at Roselle about 1890 [2]

It was nothing to see a couple of cows and a horse grazing in the paddock close to “Roselle” House and members of the Beautifying Society have told us that the section of tress and shrubs in one of the best in our city. “Richard Keals” designed “Roselle” for Joseph Liston Wilson in 1879. The house was a replacement on the 14.5 acre promontory for an earlier one built in the 1850’s. The villa style new house was favoured by Auckland goers because of the climate, particularly the wider spacious verandas with French doors on both floors and the larger bay windows and observation tower added to take full advantage of the glorious view out across Hobson Bay. It was built in brick with a concrete exterior finish, and under the tower, lay the main entrance stairwell, lit from above by a dome skylight. All the construction material arrived by boat and was hauled up the cliffs to the building site and until the mid 70’s it remained the same. Just before the school was developed the ‘Tower’ was removed for safety reasons and the entire slate roof was replaced with a tile. During the time Mr. Wilson lived there the only sewerage that his family had was a septic tank but later the property was joined up to the City Council line in Hobson Bay. The lovely loving care and maintenance of “Roselle” has enabled it to be regarded as an important part of Auckland’s Heritage and the building has been placed on the Historic Places Trust – C Rating – a classification meaning “Architectural Historic place of significance”.