Magnificent homes open their doors to the public

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A new eco-house and grand heritage homes across Dunedin will open their doors to visitors in support of the Cargill’s Castle Trust.

The trust’s Heritage Homes Open Day returns on May 12, giving local people the chance to take a closer look at some prime examples of heritage living spaces.

Cargill’s Castle Trust chairman Steven de Graaf said the self-drive heritage homes tours had been a hugely popular fundraiser for the trust for more than 15 years.

“They are very successful – people really love having the chance to look around such lovely homes,” he said.

Among the nine homes on show is the Roslyn home of Rosie Creighton – a two-storey house in the Queen Anne revival style.

Called Mahara (Memory), the home was built in 1905 for Annie Lees, daughter of wealthy paint and wallpaper business owner Andrew Lees.

A feature of the house is its large and beautiful stained glass windows, created for it by Dunedin stained glass artist Robert H. Fraser (1868-1947).

“It is a lovely home, which I have enjoyed living in for 20 years,” Ms Creighton said.

Mr de Graaf said the Heritage Homes Open Day would also feature the eco-house, other heritage homes, two converted churches, a set of apartments, and an accommodation house.

“All are very good quality and will, I’m sure, be very interesting for people to visit.”

Tickets for the self-drive tour cost $40 and also include vouchers for coffee and cake from one of five Dunedin cafes.

The open day involves a major volunteer effort, but is well worth it as both a pleasant and informative experience for visitors, and as a fundraiser for the Cargill’s Castle Trust, Mr de Graaf said.

The trust continues to work with engineers and architects on stabilisation plans for the spectacular ruin on the cliffs above St Clair.

“We are developing a good vision to keep the castle as a ruin, with the idea of having walking access to the grounds and castle,” he said.

“And work is still ongoing around connecting the castle to the Tunnel Beach walking track.”

Cargill’s Castle is fenced off and is not open to the public in its current state.

Tickets for the Heritage Homes Open Day are available at Metro Realty in Highgate and Nichol’s Garden Centre.