Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

27 January 2012

New Zealand Odyssey: The Mayor's House, Ross, Westland

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.

This house on Aylmer Street, built in 1870, was the home of Joseph Grimmond, one time mayor of Ross. By 1989, when I drew it, the locals had so little feeling for heritage that they had allowed it to fall into sorry disrepair. I guess somebody must have cared something for it otherwise why would the window holes be boarded up with rusting corrugated iron?

Ross was once one of the richest gold mining settlements in Westland. It was said that after heavy rain gold flakes could be seen glistering in the streets' gutters! 

It may be that by 2012 'heritage' has been discovered but whether or not Grimmond's house has been restored I do not know. An old acquaintance of mine, Phil Ross May, wrote the history of Ross and the West Coast gold rushes. He died young and is buried on the hill overlooking the township.


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By Don Donovan