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Situated in the Underhill Rd. area to the north of Featherston. The 500 acre property was first taken up by Judge H.S. Wardell, who had come to Featherston as the first resident Magistrate, replacing Mr. St. Hill who had been a travelling Magistrate. Wardell then had a fitting two storied gabled resident built with a large attached Glasshouse and set about planting many English trees. In 1844 C.R. Bidwill had rounded the coast and established his Pihautea Station. In 1857 a portion of Bidwills property was surveyed off by Captain Mein Smith of Huangarua Station and the township of Featherston was laid out. By 1883 Frederick Monckton had left Kent in England with his wife and 15 children sailing from Dover on the "Aorangi" arriving at Wellington on the 17th Jan 1884. The family took over a boarding house in Hawkestone St. Wellington. Whilst Mr. Monckton travelled as far Nth as Hawkes Bay looking for land to settle on, eventually buying Newstead from Wardell who was about to move to Masterton and buy his Te Whiti property. Many additions and alterations were made immediately and over the years, to accommodate the family of 17 children plus household and farm staff. The entrance hall and a large living area still has panelled walls and ceilings, with subdued lighting, both bay windows and the front porch have split totara shingles, and the old shingled roofed woodshed at the rear of the house was once a private family classroom with a governess for the children. Then in 1886 Monckton purchased from Mr. Vennell the 1000 acre Forest Gate property at Tauheranikau, which he renamed Lowlands, moving part of his family and staff out there to run the farm, leaving more space at Newstead. The present homestead is not visible from the road as the winding entrance drive passes through a forest of beautiful trees, some up to 12ft. in diameter and reputed to be the biggest of their kind in New Zealand many having been planted by Wardell. The property has had many owners over the following years and names like Yelverton, Benton, Price and Williams have been associated with the Newstead property with the present owners lovingly restoring the home to its former glory.


NOTE: The information contained here is a result of Des De Stefano's own research and was current at the time he was working on the project.