History reduced to rubble


A landmark villa that stood above the Queenstown CBD for more than a century was bowled last month.

Fronting the Stanley Street entrance to town, the tree-lined property was well-known as the home and surgery of Dr Bill Anderson – the town’s sole GP for more than 30 years – and his wife Molly.

Bill, who was also mayor for 15 years and author of best-selling book Doctor in the Mountains, died in 1978 and Molly in 1998, aged 102 – she’d celebrated her 100th birthday at the neighbouring Millennium Hotel.

Last year their property was bought by their other neighbour – the owners of the Bungi Backpackers site.

Those owners are readying the sites to on-sell to a hotel developer.

Local picture framer Dave Marsh, who rented the Andersons’ house after Molly’s death, says he felt “very privileged to be able to live there for 16 years – I became the paying custodian, in the end”.

However he says the 1890s or early-1900s four-bedroom house was uninhabitable by the time he left two years ago. “It was a very challenging place to live – the roof leaked, the floors were rotten, the windows were falling out.”

He’s not surprised it’s been demolished. “I knew that it wasn’t going to be repaired because it had no preservation order on it.

“At the same time, when it actually happened you find yourself going over the last 16 years and recalling all the memories that you’ve had there.

“It’s very sad that it just ends up in a pile of mangled mess at the will of a bucket of a digger.”

A shed out the back was the inspiration for Queenstown painter Ivan Clarke’s The Woodshed, which he created for his Lonely Dog collection.