Vinebank Oil Colour 1880 (Phil Richardson)

Vinebank (aka Vine Bank) was a large 10 roomed house on the shore of the Orakei Basin, with 3 acres of garden, 6 acres of orchard and 4 acres of leased land.  It’s not known when it was built but its most well-known owner was Frederick Charles Richardson (1852–1918).

Frederick Charles Richardson was born 1st January 1852 in Paddington, London, England, the 5th son of Charles Richardson and Selina Ellis of Cary Castle, Torquay Devon and Warwick House, Earls Court, London. [1] [2]

His father Charles Richardson (1817- 1890) was a prominent cement merchant and brick maker based at Nine Elms, Vauxhall, London, who left a large estate of £161,692 when he died in 1890. [3]

Frederick left England in 1873 aged 21 to prove himself in the world and settled in Christchurch. In 1878 he married Catherine Mary Guinness (Minnie), daughter of the resident magistrate in Collingwood Francis Vicemus Hart Guinness, the grandson of Arthur Guinness (Irish Brewer) . They then moved to Auckland. [4]

Frederick set himself up as an auctioneer and land agent at 81 Queen Street, Auckland, advertising in the New Zealand Herald and Auckland Star on a regular basis. He moved into property development and insurance as well as importing building products from his father’s business in England.

He owned a town house in Grafton Road and Vine Bank, their “Country House” on the shore of the Orakei Basin in what was then Mountain Road (now Upland Road). Frederick and Minnie had 8 children – Selina (1879), Arthur (1884), Marion (1886), Mabel (1888), Frederick (1891), Charles (1891), Frank (1894), and George (1895). [5]

It’s not known when a house was built at Vine Bank but in 1870 a public notice was placed:

ANY Person found TRESPASSING on Lots 161 and 162, known as VINEBANK, Remuera, will be PROSECUTED. CHARLES PALMER. [6]

In 1889 a Charles Eaton advertised for a housekeeper at Vine Bank. [7] And then in 1890 he advertised it for sale thus:

Under instructions from MR CHARLES EATON. WITHOUT RESERVE.

  1. M. JACKSON & CO. have been favoured with instructions from Mr Chas Eaton, who is leaving the colony, to sell by public auction, at their Mart, Queen Street, on the above date.

ALL THAT FREEHOLD PROPERTY, being Allotment 162 of Section 16, Suburbs of  Auckland, situated on the slope of the Orakei Basin, with large water frontage, containing 3 acres 3 roods and 8 perches, with the Dwelling thereon erected containing 6 apartments; and outbuildings of every description, and in first-class order. The quality of the soil is volcanic, and is especially suitable for vines, oranges, lemons, or any, variety of tropical fruit. The Orchard, which contains oranges, lemons, walnuts, peaches, and a large quantity of other fruit trees, lies towards the sun and its fruitfulness is unsurpassed in the district. For invalids the property should prove most beneficial, as it is sheltered from all the cold winds, and the volcanic character of the soil ensures its salubrity. This property will be absolutely sold to the highest bidder, and buyers [would do well to inspect it before purchasing elsewhere. [8]

In 1890 Richardson’s name first appeared in the press when he advertised in the New Zealand Herald for a light waggonette or Victoria at Vine Bank. [9]

Vine Bank was where the children were brought up and yachts were moored on Orakei Basin.

In the 10 years from 1889 to 1899 the Richardsons advertised in the Auckland Star or NZ Herald for a range of servants for Vine Bank: housekeeper, general servants, female servants, nursery governess, upholsterer and a lad to milk a cow and do gardening. . In 1902 a Mrs T C Richardson advertised for a nurse at Vinebank “who understands massage and would undertake housekeeping”. [10]

In 1897, Frederick advertised Vine Bank to be let:

TO LET— Furnished, for one, two, or three years – Mr. F. C. Richardson’s House in Mountain Road, Remuera. The House contains 9 rooms and conveniences, good stables, coach house and other outbuildings, and 20 acres land. This place is worthy the attention of anyone requiring a nice place at a reasonable rent. Apply W. FRATER & SON, Estate Agents, Queen-street. [11]

The Richardsons had an interest in a number of yachts which were the Mizpah bought from Arthur Liston Wilson in April 1898 [12] and the Eagle which Richardson advertised for sale in November 1898. [13] Arthur Wilson lived in a large house further up Upland Road which became the Caughey Preston Home for elderly people. [14]

In 1902 Frederick Richardson decided to return to England with his family. Vine Bank was advertised for sale with the following information:


THE BUILDINGS contain 10-roomed House, bath-room, dairy, wash-house, stables, coach house; 4-roomed cottage; workshop; cow bails and tool houses; two conservatories; about three acres of well laid-out garden, and 6 acres of orchard; also, leasehold attached of 4 acres; the view unsurpassed, being opposite Waitemata Harbour, and water frontage of Orakei basin; bathing, boating, etc. Terms easy. Further particulars and price from owner Telephone 844. [15]


HOUSE. 10 LARGE ROOMS AND BATHROOM, with hot and cold water; large concrete cistern. Also, 4-roomed Cottage. Stables, and Coach houses; Wash-house and Tool houses. Dairy and Cowshed. THE GROUNDS are well laid out in 6 ACRES ORCHARD AND FLOWER GARDENS, well sheltered. And TWO ACRES GRASS PADDOCKS, And there are TWO LARGE VINERIES. There are also attached. THREE ACRES OF PERPETUAL LEASEHOLD, at a very low rental, fenced and in grass. The Views are Beautiful, both from Verandah and Tower. Bathing and Boating, etc.  The whole Property is in good order, and is INEXPENSIVE TO MAINTAIN, and the price is considerably below what it cost the Owner— spared no expense. Further particulars and price from the Owner by telephone, No. 844; or from C. J. HUTCHINSON, SWANSON-STREET. [16]

Frederick Richardson retired to 9 Upper Addison Gardens, Kensington, London, where he died in 1918 of the influenza at the end of World War 1. [17]

Vine Bank then appears in a photo of the Bevins family dated 1905. Marjorie Bevins Collis said “We had about 25 acres around part of the Orakei Basin – a large orchard, paddocks for the ponies, cows for milk, and a cow shed built into the cliff below the front gate … the big house was square, two storey with a tower room on top that had windows on each side and a walkway from the front where we could watch ships coming into the harbour”. [18]

At some point Vine Bank appears to have been bought by Joseph Liston Wilson (1837-1902) who with his brother William Scott Wilson ran the newspaper his father had started, The New Zealand Herald, and lived on the neighbouring property of 14 acres. His son John Martyn Wilson (1879-1958) gifted the whole property to the St Kentigern Trust and Presbyterian Church in the early 1950s. His house Roselle (now 82 Shore Road) built in 1879 became the administrative building for St Kentigern School for Boys which opened in 1959. [19] [20]

Vinebank from Orakei Basin (Phil Richardson 34-7)

Frederick Richardson at Vinebank, Shore Road, Remuera (Phil Richardson 34-9)

Frederick Richardson at Vinebank (Phil Richardson 34-10)

Vinebank. Lot 162, Section 16, Darwin Lane (Phil Richardson)

Vinebank. Hanna Postcard (Phil Richardson)

Bevin Family at Vinebank 1905 (from A Fine Prospect, page 85)

View of Wilson’s house (Roselle) Remuera, taken from the lawn tennis paddock, Vinebank on left, C.1870 , watercolour by M Elwes (otago.

Vinebank. Lot 161 & 162, Section 16 Orakei

Vinebank 2020