Settlers’ descendants attend cottage reopening
Alexandra’s historic Vallance Cottage re-opened on Sunday with renewed hope for its future preservation.
A dozen descendants and family of early settlers William and Jean Vallance who built the cottage about 1896, gathered from as far afield as Wellington, to mark its restoration and reopening at a well attended community picnic at Alexandra.
A great-grand daughter, Judith Maxim of Wellington, said the family was concerned about the heritage listed building’s future and their greatest wish was that the cottage they gifted to the community in the mid 1990s, be self-sustaining, to preserve it as a public asset.
The cousins had great memories of holidays at the cottage, where their greatgrandparents had raised eight children, ‘‘when we had the run of the place’’, Jo Lawrence of Nelson said.
Closed since 2009 when the floor was found to be unsafe, a fundraising effort by the Vallance family and the Vincent Community Board, which took over the management from Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, had led to a major revamp in recent years.
Community board chairwoman Clair Higginson hoped feedback and discussion from the open day would lead to the formation of a group and a new generation of custodians.
‘‘This house had a life and it has a life,’’ she said on Sunday.
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Vallance family: Gathered for the historic Alexandra cottage’s re-opening on Sunday were, front row left, Sally MacLeod of Lawrence, Dorothy Nicol of Kurow, the Mali family of Nelson – mumKeshera, daughters Amira, 4, and Shayla, 8, dad Faris and sons Keedon, 6, and Eamon, 2; back row, Jo Lawrence and son Sam, 17, of Nelson, Judith Maxim of Wellington, Virginia Maskill and Anne Lee of Christchurch.