Historic site: Somme House

"The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different."

- Aldous Huxley.

Image of Somme House.
Somme House.
Photo by Hannah Sutton, 2009.

Somme House on Moana Road was named to commemorate the New Zealand soldiers killed in the 1916 Battle of the Somme in World War I. It was built by Archie McMahon, who also built the Turville House and many other houses in Plimmerton. Unlike typical villas of the time, it shows early expression of typical bungalow features that became common in the 1920s and 1930s, such as the exposed-rafter ends, shallow-pitched roof and casement windows.

The land on which Somme House was built was once part of George Troup’s estate which extended up Cluny Road and included Motuhara, Moana and Airlie Roads (for more information about George Troup see the link at the bottom of this page). In 1910 the land was subdivided and sections were sold off over the subsequent years. On 17 May 1915 Troup sold Lot 79 to Robert Hird Hustler, a painter from Johnsonville. Hustler took a mortgage out on the land on 28 February 1916, probably to build the house. On 23 April 1918 the land was sold to Juanita Heather Sylvia Craw of Linton, a spinster.

Juanita Craw may have had a brother Eric Hector Dunstan Craw who was a bombardier in the First World War, who was killed in the Battle of the Somme on 25 September 1916. Eric Craw also came from Linton. Various owners have come and gone since that time.

Continue to Taupo Pa or return to Plimmerton.

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