Houipapa Homestead

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1890 to 1980
Location: Houipapa, Catlins, Otago, New Zealandmap
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The Prompt for Week 13 of the 52 Ancestors Challenge is The Old Homestead.

The only place I would call The Old Homestead in our family is where the Burrow family first settled when they came to New Zealand.

The old Homestead has gone now, but while it was there, it played a rather large part in the lives of the local community.

Sadly, I never visited the old homestead, mores the pity, But I had already left home by the time I was bitten by the genealogy bug, So all I have left are the photos and the stories.

Catlins Regions Location Map

The Catlins Region is a Wild section of rugged coast along the southern part of the South Island in New Zealand. It hold some beautiful natural spots and has a history of settlers who moved in during the late 1800s. I don't think there was any gold rush. But there may have been some gold to be found in the rivers.

Catlins Road Map

Most of the early settlers were sawmillers. There were huge forests covering the hills, and much of the forest was clearcut for building new homes and businesses in Otago. After the trees disappeared, the settlers stayed to eke out a living from the rugged land. Other settlers (like my great grandfather) moved in to farm the now cleared land.

The Homestead and the new Railway Bridge

The above photo shows Burrow Family Home in Houipapa (Hoo-ee-papa), a few miles southwest of Owaka. By the time my great grandfather William Burrow settled there with his wife and young family in 1890, many of the old sawmills had gone out of business as there were no more trees to be cut.

The Homestead

Now there were new jobs were to be found building the railway through the area. William Burrow spent most of his time working on the small section of land that he owned and also working on the railroad. When the rail lines was completed in 1915, William went back to the sawmills.

Lily Burrow cutting wood in 1915

William and his wife Mary (She was my ancestor for the START prompt in Week 1) raised 11 children in this home. 2 of their daughters were profundedly deaf. More details of the family life can be read from the |Memoirs that my aunt wrote in her unpublished memoirs of 2001. She describes what life was like on this homestead, and how William (Bill) Burrow played his phonograph for the locals on Sundays.

As the children grew up, most of them moved up to Dunedin, married and eventually settled elsewhere in New Zealand to raise families of their own.

The Catlins Trains stopped running in the 1970s. Below is a Photo of one of the last excursion trains to travel through the Catlins in the early 1970s. The old Burrow white homestead lies up on the hill to the left of the train, behind the steam.

Excursion Train in the Catlins.

Some time after the train photo was taken, the house was taken down, removed or destroyed. I have no details on when or how that happened. Below is a photo taken in 2009, showing what the site looks now.

The old homestead in the 21st century

Sources, Links and more Information


http://catlins.org.nz/index.php?/site/culture_history European History

http://catlins.org.nz/index.php?/site/economy Catlins Economy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Catlins General Catlins article

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catlins_River_Branch Catlins rail road

http://brians-place.com/trains/ghosts/catlins.html Brians Catlins page

https://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/68071683/new-rail-trail-for-the-catlins walking the old rail lines

https://www.backpackerguide.nz/18-attractions-you-cant-miss-in-the-catlins/ Things to do in the Catlins

http://www.catlins.org.nz/userfiles/file/pdf-downloads/CatlinsPurpleBrochure2017.pdf Purple Catlins Tourism Brochure

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