Talk about coming full circle.
A Queenstown visitor last week stayed in a restored, historic cottage that was on part of the Lower Shotover farm he grew up on in the ’40s and ’50s.
Hugh Brown and his wife, Henny, were the first guests to stay at Hick’s Cottage, which farmer Thomas Hicks built sometime between the mid-1860s and mid-1870s, soon after Queenstown was settled.
The cottage had fallen into despair till local builder John Hudson fully restored it this year.
Hugh Brown recalls the cottage — now on the fringe of the Shotover Country subdivision, right beside the Queenstown Trail — was the shearing shed on the family farm where he spent his first 15 years.
‘‘We never knew it as Hick’s Cottage, it was always just ‘the shed’, and had been since the early 1920s when my grandfather took up the farm.
‘‘My father used it as a shearing shed and a place to hang the harness for our three draught horses.’’
A retired transport infrastructure consultant, Brown’s written about his early years in the draft first chapter of his so-far-unpublished memoirs, A Letter to my Great Grand Children.
He notes his dad called the 162-hectare, heavily-terraced farm, at the junction of the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers, ‘‘400 acres of gorse, gravel and rabbits’’.
He attended Queenstown Primary for a year, then Arrowtown School, but left for South Canterbury in 1959 after his dad sold the farm.
Based nowadays in Bali, Brown says Hudson’s restoration is ‘‘perfect’’ and a great reminder of the old days.