Fernside Homestead

Fernside Homestead
Fernside Homestead in 2015
General information
Architectural styleNeo-Georgian
LocationFeatherston, New Zealand
OwnerCharles Elgar, Ella Elgar
Design and construction
ArchitectHeathcote Helmore

Fernside Homestead is the historic home of Ella Elgar and Charles Elgar in Featherston, New Zealand.[1] It is known for its landscaped gardens that featured in Peter Jackson's 2003 film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King[2] and its valuable collection of English and French antiques known as the Elgar Collection now at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.[3]


The importance of Fernside is best viewed by the families who came from England and settled in the south of Wairarapa. William Elgar landed in Port Nicholson (better known as port of Wellington) for the very first time in 1839. His son Charles William Elgar arrived in Wellington in 1873, and he and his partner bought over 8,000 acres to the east of Fernside and later sold this substantial block to Charles Johnson Pharazyn. The Pharazyns became one of the largest landowners in Wairarapa.[4]

Charles Elgar strengthened his ties with the influential Pharazyns. He managed large areas of Pharazyn land and married Ella Pharazyn, the daughter of Charles Pharazyn junior, in 1890. In 1886, Charles leased 1,134 acres known as Fernside, near Featherston, and bought the property in 1897. A railway station of the same name was located near the north-west boundary of the property.[4][5]

The first significant house on the territory now known as Fernside was constructed in the 1870s by Mr. & Mrs. R. J. Barton. In 1923, the building and its contents were totally demolished by fire. Little data continues about the former home, other than a single photograph.[6][4][1] The second home in Fernside was constructed in 1924. For the second time, the Elgars accumulated a good collection of antiques. Vacations overseas were common, so they had plenty of opportunities to gather antiques for their new home.[4][1]

Charles Elgar died at the neighboring Tauherenikau race track in 1930, and Ella relocated to Christchurch some ten years later. Fernside was split into three blocks and sold out. In 1946 the Dominion Museum now the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa received a bequest of some Fernside Homestead’s finest antiques from Ella Elgar’s will. Until 1992 these antiques were displayed in period rooms at the Museum. Objects from the collection can now be seen in many exhibitions at the museum.[7][5]

More recently the Fernside estate was sold to the United States government as a country home for their New Zealand ambassador. To this day the house has remained in private ownership.[1] Current owners Rosie and Colin Bevan were heavily influenced by the original look of the house as furnished by its former owners Ella and Charles Elgar. Fernside’s landscaped gardens featured in Peter Jackson's 2003 film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King based on J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Fernside, the Elgar homestead". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Collections online.
  2. ^ "Explore beauty of homestead gardens". NZ Herald.
  3. ^ "On the Sheep's Back (Te Papa Exhibition 14 February 1998 - 22 April 2007)". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Collections online.
  4. ^ a b c d "Fernside Homestead". fernside.co.nz.
  5. ^ a b "Biography of Ella Grace Elgar". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Collections online.
  6. ^ "LARGE DWELLING BURNED". New Zealand Herald. LX (18563, 22). November 1923. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Cabinet on a stand circa 1690". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Collections online.
  8. ^ "A magnificent restoration of historic Kiwi manor". stuff.co.nz.

Coordinates: 41°06′11″S 175°21′55″E / 41.103054°S 175.365287°E / -41.103054; 175.365287

This page was last updated at 2019-11-12 02:10, update this pageView original page

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