About Robertson House

A part of history in Rotorua.

Robertson House was built for Edwin Robertson in the early 1900s. Edwin ran a coaching company which had, by 1903, taken over almost all coaching runs and mail services to and from Rotorua. He was considered to be the biggest private employer in the area during this time. He apparently had been freighting with packhorses since the age of 12.

The house was originally built on 17 acres of land. It is estimated that building began in 1903 and was completed by 1905, however public records were later destroyed by fire, and others believe the house was built several years earlier. Robertson sold the house quickly and it was then owned by the Johnson family for approximately 30 years. 

During the 1930s it was used as a boarding house for students going to Rotorua District High school (across the road from the house), before passing into private hands. During its time as a boarding house many modifications were made to accomodate more students. It has since been lovingly restored to its original glory over the years by several owners, and is now listed as a Category 2 Historic Place by Heritage NZ. 

The building is significant as a good example of the Victorian Bay Villa.

It retains most of the original features of this style, including Union Jack balustrades and intricate fretwork decorations around the verandah posts, a hood and more fretwork over the bay windows, a finial on the gable front, brackets under the eaves and two tall corbelled brick chimneys.