Monday, March 17, 2014

James Middlebrook–A House in Opua


Journalling on this layout reads  :

The photo above shows Julia Middlebrook on the balcony of the “Opua House” which appears to be a fairly newly built home . It would seem that James Middlebrook owned several properties in the Bay of Islands and this was likely to have been the last house he owned there before moving his family to Auckland .
The house can clearly be seen standing proud at the top of the hill above the Opua Wharf in the photo below taken in 1912. James advertised to sell the property in December 1908 The notice stating“FOR SALE House of-9 rooms, at Opua, Bay o,f Islands; "large allotment; good view of harbour; "close to wharf,- railway terminus, and public school. Would exchange for town property.—For particulars apply to J. T. Middlebrook, Opua, Bay of Islands”, however its not obvious the property was sold as later, in 1912 he is noted as advertising“RESIDENCE, seaside, Opua. Bay of Islands, for Sale; would exchange for town property.-J Middlebrook. Mamie-St.. Remuera”


I was lucky to get  copies of the two top photos in this layout from a relative in Sydney. Previously I had only had one poor quality photocopy of a photo of James Middlebrook and I wasn’t even 100% certain it was him. ( Im pleased to confirm it was)



I really like the look of this house of James’ standing proud on the hill above the bay in Opua. – Imagine its worth now if it were still standing.

I dont believe, however that it is still standing

Its just visible on the top right before the hill goes up, in this photo taken in 1915 from


This photograph taken in 1960 on  it could be there tucked into the trees at the top of the hill but Im not sure its the same house at all, and the angle of the photgraph and the geography of the hillside has changed somewhat making it more difficult

Car ferry, Opua - Alexander Turnbull Library


Currently I havent found a photograph that would confirm its existence between these two photos.

Ill keep searching though and post any future photos I might find here.

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