Ever walked past a house and wondered who lived there? Maybe your home has some history that you would like to investigate? Or maybe you have heard about ordinary or famous people and wondered what it was like to live in their home... Learning about our history, arts and culture helps us learn about ourselves. We believe that a strong sense of identity goes a long way to our personal well-being. So we are keen to help inspire you to find your own WuHoo. Your own investigating can be done from a computer or phone at home.

You could investigate...

  • When was it built? 
  • What style is it built in? 
  • What materials is it made out of? 
  • Has it been extended or altered?
  • Who were the previous owners? 

When reproducing other peoples information and images, it is ideal to be aware of Copyright from the outset so if you need to, you can easily find the source and arrange copyright permission. Here is some helpful information from copyright.co.nz

How long does copyright last?

Who Owns Copyright in a Work?

Infringement of Copyright

What Qualifies for Copyright Protection?

When Permission is Not Needed

Protecting Copyright Material


* this is just general information on copyright issues. If you require expert or legal advice on copyright, you should seek the services of a legal professional.


Artist, Creative Writer and Family Historian

Cynthia has been helping us at WuHoo Timaru get our heads around the importance of respecting peoples research,  how to acknowledge it and thinking more critically when interpreting it. This is a fantastic write up about her home and how she researched it with wonderful suggestions on how you can do the same to find your own WuHoo.

Read more ...

In a few special circumstances, peoples homes were generously gifted to the people of the Timaru District in a pioneering spirit to help establish public buildings. There used to be a house called Linwood (or sometimes spelt with an Y Lynwood) House has a fascinating history, and although it is long gone from the corner of George and Latter Streets in Timaru, it's legacy remains. A bold gift to the community thanks to a hard working committee and a grant from wealthy steel merchant Carnigie. Next time you are visiting the Library wander down the road a block to the Council building. If you look closely today you will see "Library" formed from Oamaru stone and a gentleman's face looking out from an arch. 

Read more ...

When Timaru had only a small population, before the first immigrant ship arrived, Margaret - the wife, and the young children of Henry Le Cren moved from Lyttleton to Timaru to join their father. Henry Le Cren established Timaru's first store which Captain Cain managed. They lived up on a hill with views to Caroline Bay and the Port, and the house they built was named ‘Beverly’. Back in 1858 the town was just starting out but was soon to grow rapidly when wool could be shipped directly from Timaru to London. After a stint living in London, Henry would return without his wife and move to Craighead. He died in 1985 and the house was sold to the 4 Shand sisters to start a school in 1910.

Read more ...

In 1861 a pioneering couple set off from Scotland for the other side of the world. Catherine MacKay 1837-1914 and Andrew Burnett 1838-1927 travelled by bullock wagon and camped at Perth Street, Timaru. They later planted an oak tree there. The Burnetts' first home at Mt Cook station was a "one-room hut of black birch logs plastered with clay and thatched with snowgrass." Thier youngest son Thomas David (TD) represented Temuka in Parliament until he died in 1941. He left in his will the Perth Street property to The South Canterbury Historical Society. It was TD's wish that any new building on the site be named Pioneer Hall, so the Historical Society gave that name to their new museum on the site. In 1966 the museum building was replaced with a new building in the iconic octagonal design by Ron Dohig. Next time you are at the museum, seek out a boulder with a plaque. You will find it under the oak tree planted by the pioneers all those years ago. 

Read more ...

Feeling stuck at home with the kids right now? You can probably relate to the widowed woman with 6 young children, living in a tiny cottage in Peeress town… The town was only supposed to be a temporary settlement, for 24 immigrant families who arrived on the Peeress Ship in 1874. But with nowhere else to go, many families stayed on. After a typhoid breakout and issues with some "un-savoury characters" the area got a bad reputation and some Timaru Borough residents wanted it gone. Eventually the town was emptied and the buildings razed, leaving the former residents to find new homes.

Read more ...

All houses have different stories of the people who lived in them. 26 Preston Street was home to Elizabeth Blackham and her family. Originally from Invercargill, Elizabeth and her husband Richard had a large family with 11 children. Sadly, as was common in those days, three of them died in infancy. After Richard also died, in 1912 Elizabeth moved the family to Timaru where they settled at the house on Preston Street. The Blackham family were living there in 1915 when World War I broke out, changing their lives forever.

Read more ...

Ever wondered how the Aigantighe Art Gallery got its name? Before it became a gallery, it was originally the home of Alexander and Helen Grant. The Grants were Scottish immigrants who farmed a rural high country station, Gray’s Hill. But they wanted a house in town for their retirement, so in 1905 they built a beautiful new home on Wai-iti Street and called it “Aigantighe”. Pronounced “ay-gan-tie”, it is a Scottish Gaelic term for “Welcome to our home”. (Other earlier documentation prounced it "egg-an-ie). Helen lived in the house until she was 101, and it was her wish for it to become a gallery. After she died, her family gifted the house to the City of Timaru and it has been used as a gallery ever since.

Read more ...

Imagine who lived in one of Timaru's early cob cottages and who helped build it? Made of clay and tussock and built for the young wife of an early settler, this one is amazingly still standing on Avenue Rd – though it has seen some changes. As Timaru evolved, so too did this cottage with the building clad in weather board over the cob and a kitchen added at the back. It is thought to have been built around 1860’s by Samuel Barkley, who is thought to have had the help of the Deal Boatmen: skilled boat handlers and the first the be burried at Timaru’s Kensington cemetery.

Read more ...

Ever walked down the drive lined with old English trees at Ashbury Ave and wonder who planted them? There used to be a colonial cottage here called "Ashbury" where the Woollcombe family lived. In marched Lieutenant (later Captain) Belfield Wollcombe in 1857. Often referred to as the grandfather of Timaru, he would later claim to be the oldest resident of Timaru. In his time, he was the government rep, beach master, health officer, registrar, coroner, returning officer and over seer of public works and magistrate. (That’s a lot of multi-tasking!) He built Timaru’s third house at Ashbury Park. Though the house is long gone today, you can still walk beneath the English trees that he planted on his land that overlooked the Waimataitai estuary at southern end of the park. The Waimataitai Lagoon was later drained and the reclaimed land became Ashbury Park. However despite settling in one of the most remote parts of the world, this didn’t stop his eldest daughter venturing out and even being caught up in the Boer war.

Read more ...