Sun, Mar 24, 2024 9:00 AM

History: Robert Fellowes and Tākaka’s ‘superior’ Globe Hotel




Robert Ross Fellowes was born in Lancashire in 1825.  In 1854 at Melbourne, he married Catherine Dunn and immigrated to New Zealand aboard the ship Spray in February 1855.

By 1859 they were living at Waitapu, Tākaka, where they had 11 children. In June 1871 the new Globe Hotel, described as being of superior accommodation for all classes, was built with Robert and Catherine as proprietors.

The hotel quickly became a popular destination with many an activity held in the hotel or on the surrounding  paddocks, such as the first pigeon match to take place in the Tākaka district. The family faced more than their fair share of tragedies over the ensuing years. In March 1887 Robert and Catherine’s son William drowned while crossing a river on his way home from shooting rabbits.

Later, in 1897, their son Hamilton drowned in the Mokihinui River on the West Coast. The hotel business flourished and in 1888 the Globe was enlarged and at completion boasted 38 rooms with new bedrooms, four parlours and a bridal chamber.

Life continued without any major events until June 1892 when fire destroyed the stables, along with 60 bags of oats. The loss was substantial as Robert had no insurance. The stables were rebuilt but again destroyed by fire in June 1897 along with 20 tons of hay, chaff, potatoes, harness and chaff cutter.

Robert had an eye for opportunities and in September 1892, seeing the waste of vast quantities of timber in Aorere Valley through the process of settlement, moved his sawmill plant from Upper Tākaka to Riverdale to be able to access the bulk of the timber. The engine and boiler, placed on a wagon, weighed around 10 ton and was moved from Tākaka Bridge to Collingwood in two days with a team of 16 horses and 10 bullocks. The balance of the plant arrived by sea on the ketch Comet and the mill was operational by January 1893.

Robert and Catherine retired in late 1897, leaving the Globe in the hands of their son Fred and daughter Emily. Robert died not long after on 10 May, 1898 following a long illness.

Early morning in July 1898 the Globe was destroyed by a fire which started in a chimney.  The new Globe Hotel, finished in January 1899, was considered one of the best buildings possible. It was of solid totora and rimu, 64 feet long, with a depth of 47 feet and had a veranda running along the front and side. On the first floor was a kitchen, storeroom, dining room, three private parlours, and three bedrooms, while the bar and bar parlours were at the extreme north end of the passage.

Emily Fellowes married Arthur Gaukrodger, who supported her in the hotel. After two years of marriage, he was killed in a terrifying trap accident. Catherine died May 1910, age 75. By 1920 the hotel was in the hands of Mr James Anderson and so ended the link between the Globe Hotel and the Fellowes family.

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