Morrinsville Heritage Trail
The Waitoa Road Board was formed in 1875. As it did not have access to a suitable room in which to hold its meetings Mr Joseph John Wood was approached about the matter of providing a hotel. This he consented to and built the Nottingham Castle in 1877 on the present site out of timber from the old Cambridge Bridge utilizing gin cases to make partitions. Mr Wood was a native of Nottingham in England hence the hotel was named.
The hotel was transferred from the Jolly Cripple which was located opposite the then school, to the new premises and Mr Wood became the first licensee.
The Nottingham Castle (Below) was burnt down on 20th June 1913 and the replacement building was built for Mr Wenzal Schollum during the winter of 1914 by Mr J.C.R. Watts. The Architect was Thomas Price who travelled from Auckland to supervise the construction. A feature of the building when it opened was its electric power – stored in 54 batteries which provided enough power to run 157 lights for 3 ½ days.
Nottingham castle Hotel is registered by the Historic Places Trust as a Category 1 Building.
Postal services in Morrinsville commenced 1st March 1876 when the first Post Office was opened in the Jolly Cripple Hotel sited at the southern end of Studholme Street. Mr G.H.E Mowbray was appointed Postmaster on the 1st of April 1876. The post office was originally named Waitoa but changed to Morrinsville on the 1st of August 1878. A succession of store keepers were postmasters until the last appointment, that of Mr John Clifford, 1st April 1883. On 1st September 1884 the post office was transferred to the Railway Station and the Stationmaster became Postmaster
In time, there was a move to have a new Post Office located in the centre of the township and on 19th July 1909, a new wooden building (above) was opened on Thames Street between Studholme and Lorne Streets. That building was built by Mr R.C. Humphrey’s building firm at a cost of £1270 / 16 / -.
The next Post Office building was located on this Thames and Lorne Street corner and was opened 10th October 1962. Built by DC Construction Ltd for £153,000, the total rose to £350,000 with the installation of equipment, including the automatic telephone exchange which cut in during August 1963.
A feature of the building was an internal garden open to the weather in the middle of the building. It could be viewed through a window, from the main baking area. In April 1997, as the State Enterprise Organization, the New Zealand Post Ltd moved westward from this location to 141 Thames Street. After a period there, the Post Office agency was franchised, opening as Books & More at Shop 2, 47 Studholme Street – on 1st July 2000.
During 1859/60 Mr John McDonald came from England and settled in Wairoa South, the area now called Clevedon. Some twelve years later (1872) he purchased for 2s 6d as acre, the Pakarau Block of about 900 acres at Kiwitahi and this home was erected for his son Thomas and his wife by Mr Thomas McLean in 1874 near to where the school is today.
The timber used in the building of the house was heart kauri from Clevedon, brought to Te Aroha by boat up the Waihou river and then overland by bullock wagon to Kiwitahi. The horns of one of the bullocks involved in that work have been preserved at the end of the cottage. The pit-sawn timber cladding shows markings typical of that cutting method. He built a second house for his other son James. On John McDonald’s death, his two sons, James and Thomas, took over 482 and 426 acres of the property, respectively. On the death of Thomas and Elizabeth’s last surviving direct descendant, their farm was bequeathed to Messrs N.C and G.E. Lamb, distant relations. These gentlemen generously handed the cottage over to the Morrinsville Historical Society as a gift.
In August 1972 the building was moved from Kiwitahi to its present site. Some furniture and artefacts belonging to the McDonalds were retained and the cottage was set up in the style of an early settler’s home of the period 1880 to 1900. After two years of hard works, McDonald cottage was formally opened during the weekend of 10th/11th August 1974.