Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

05 July 2010

Becks, Central Otago: The White Horse Hotel

As it looked in autumn 2010, this is the White Horse Hotel at Becks, on the road between Alexandra and St. Bathans. The townlet of Becks was first named White Horse and was the focus of an agricultural district in Maniototo County in the days when gold winning ruled the land hereabouts. Three times a week, coaches ran through here to connect with the Central Otago Railway; the White Horse Hotel, offered accommodation for travellers in ten bedrooms and two sitting rooms with a restaurant that could seat up to sixteen guests.

Built in 1864, the building is a mixture of timber and stacked stone schist slabs with the ubiquitous New Zealand corrugated iron roof. I first saw it in 1993 when I was writing my book ‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’. At that time the White Horse was on its way to the knacker’s yard being dilapidated apparently beyond repair and uncared for. But thankfully it has been restored and while it doesn’t have the romantic ruin of a watercolour it makes a good photograph.

I still prefer my watercolour!


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By Don Donovan