Historic Arrowtown B&B hits market

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After 11 years, Hilary and Graeme Finnie reckon it’s time for someone else to enjoy one of Arrowtown’s most historic properties.

The couple bought Pittaway’s Cottage, in Buckingham St, in 2004. It’s operated as a B&B, with breakfast optional.

The historic cottage has two bedrooms, a kitchen, lounge and bathroom and a new wing includes another two bedrooms, a lounge and dining area, kitchen and bathroom.

There’s also a separate one-bedroom studio apartment with an attic.

The Finnies ran the cottage’s historic part as visitor accommodation while living in the extension, but last year they decided it was time to move on.

“It’s just time not to have such a commitment,” Hilary Finnie says.

The couple plan to spend more time with family in New Zealand and overseas but they’ll miss the cottage.

“It’s just been a privilege to live here … but I’m getting too creaky; we’ve got to make a move now.”

The property – which has a rateable value of $1.02 million – dates back to about 1875, when it was built by James Healey, Arrowtown’s first town clerk.

Occupiers over the following 55 years included James Fleming, a storeman for William Jenkins and later Reid and MacDowell, storekeepers at Macetown; James Webb, originally from England, employed in Arrowtown in local stores before starting business as a carpenter and undertaker; and William Stevenson.

Stevenson, originally from Stronsay, Orkney Islands, farmed at the Crown Terrace.

He, along with John Dakers, was involved in the Bracken’s Gully Sluicing Claim and married Catherine Pritchard, a niece of Robert Pritchard, founder of Arrowtown Stores.

However, the cottage took its name from George and Maude Pittaway, who lived in the home from 1930 until the late in 1940s.

George Pittaway, originally from Palmerston, Otago, a boot and shoe maker, and his wife, who was born in Arrowtown, moved in to the cottage in 1930.

The couple raised nine children there. One, Gordon Pittaway, lives in Wanaka, and is a frequent visitor.

The Finnies happened upon the cottage when it was being sold by Alison and Gavin Porteous.

The Porteous’ bought it in 2002 with a view to operating it as visitor accommodation. They extended it but they never got up and running.

Graeme Finnie, an electrician by trade, says buying the cottage was the right move at the right time.

The couple, who have been in the area 43 years, sold their lifestyle block and wanted to move into semi-retirement. 

“We were looking after a friend’s house down the street,” Graeme remembers.

“We walked in one door and out the other and said ‘We’ll take it’.” 

Otago Daily Times