Keeping the charm of the 1920s

Number 10 Weraroa Road is owned by Mr Geoff and Mrs Jan Opie, and occupied by them and their children, Hayden, Michael and Kristen.

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This house was built by Mr William Pringle in May 1920 on part of Suburban Section 31 with an area of 1/3 acre in the Levin Village Settlement. 

By October 15, 1920 Mr Thomas Vincent owned the property.  In the same month Mr James Challies bought and lived in it with his son Alexander (Alec). 

Mr Challies was a retired farmer from the Nelson district.  He bought a farm in Buller Road, the last one at the west end of the road, farming it with hired labour under his daily supervision and giving some assistance on some farm jobs.


Against the rules

Mr Alec Challies said that when going to school there was no house on the opposite corner (there were some older houses further up Saxton Street) and he could cross the road and walk over open paddocks to the rear of the Levin School. Against the rules of course! 

Mr Challies died in 1944 and the property was transferred to son Alec with the farm which he still farms. 

The house was bought in the same year by Mr Frederick and Mrs Rena Tabor, who occupied it with their daughters Joan, Freda, Fay and Ruth.

In 1979 Mr Robert and Mrs Felile Blakelock bought the property occupying it until 1980 when the present owners bought it.


Cross beamed ceiling

The house has four bedrooms (one formerly a study) two lounges and kitchen, etc.  A feature in the main lounge is the cross beamed plaster ceiling which seems to bring down the 11 foot 6 inches stud height to more visual level. 

In the kitchen where originally a solid fuel cooking stove was, there is an electric stove and chip heater. Next to these is an alcove with tiled walls.  This had a chimney joining up with the main chimney. This side chimney was clean of soot and apparently never used.


Puzzled owners

I have ascertained that a gas stove was once in the alcove with the side chimney to take away the gas fumes. This fact has been puzzling the present owners. 

In the main lounge the original open fire, being of a small steel type for coke or coal, has been replaced by a space heater. The wooden surround and mantelpiece is of straight and simple lines typical of the 1920s onwards when the ornate, turned and moulded fittings and furniture went out of fashion. 

The windows are casement with fanlights, these also are typical of the period when the up and down windows with weighted sash cords went out of fashion. Most of these windows are built in a slight curve which is uncommon.



The fanlights are leadlighted in plain glass with a simple coloured pattern in the centre. Some of the top halves of doors are leadlighted similarly.

A side door from the main lounge leads into a roofed small porch enclosed by a roughcast low concrete wall complete with supporting pillar at the corner facing north.

The kitchen walls originally 3 inch match lining, have been relined with modern wallboard. The present owners are renovating the house as much as practicable to its original style. The main chimney in the kitchen has been left with a fan to take away cooking fumes and to provide for the chipheater flue. 

The front entrance porch is supported by overhanging roughcast concrete pillars. 

The exterior cladding is of weatherboard with a corrugated iron roof. 

The front entrance gateway on the corner has roughcast concrete pillars and beams forming an arch. The house externally is original and the interior very little altered. There are many large shrubs mainly rhododendrons and camellias which I would think are of the original planting.  A venerable large weeping elm certainly would be.


Above are 2 views of Weraroa Boys' Training Farm in Kimberley Road from a booklet of views of Levin published by Ken Aitken. 

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Keeping the charm of the 1920s

Creator:Corrie Swanwick
Creation date:22/06/1983
Publisher:The News