Botanic Garden's Summer House celebrates 100 years

30 October 2014

The Wellington Botanic Garden’s elegant Summer House marked its 100th birthday at Labour Weekend, but mystery surrounds who actually built it.

Summer house at Botanic Gardens.

The Summer House was built of totara. Its original timber floor was replaced by concrete in 1998

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Commissioned by the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners in 1914 as a trade exhibit, it was carried on a float for the Labour Day Parade. Several families have claimed credit, and two men – George Blatherwick and William Mudge – have been proposed as its builders, but records are sketchy.

The Council bought it for the Garden’s main drive, where it shelters visitors from the sun, if not the wind and the rain (it has an open trellised roof and walls).

A seat inside the heritage-listed Summer House carries a memorial to William John Morris, who died while rescuing his eight-year-old brother from drowning in the harbour.