Eastbourne – History - Guthrie Cottage Holiday Home

Eastbourne – History

Prior to European settlers,  Maori occupied settlements in and around what is now Eastbourne for centuries, including Pa sites at Point Howard and Days Bay.

William ‘Okiwi’ Brown was the first European settler to settle in the eastern bays, and he provided travelers with overnight grazing and accommodation as they travelled the rough coast track from the Hutt Valley to the Wairarapa.

In the mid 1890’s shipping entrepreneur John Williams bought Days Bay for £1,000 and set about turning it into a resort.  He built a wharf and introduced a ferry service to Wellington running from Days Bay and later to Eastbourne (Rona Bay).  He also built an English resort styled pavilion – to seat 800 –  a hotel and an amusement park, including a wooden waterslide which saw wooden boats flying down at 50kmph into what is now the duck pond!  There were also cricket and hockey grounds and tennis courts,  all open to the general public (which are still in use today).

Being a ferry ride or horse and cart trip from Wellington, Eastbourne and its Bays became the holiday retreat for Wellingtonians.  Small baches and substantial summer houses were built, mostly owned by well off Wellington families, with some families renting to later build their own.  Guthrie Cottage is one of the original seaside bachs in Eastbourne.

Eastbourne was also settled by Italian immigrants and became a thriving fishing community.

Eastbourne continues to be the weekend and summer seaside retreat of Wellingtonians as well as a thriving seaside community.  Many of the founding families who holidayed or settled here all those years ago are still here, a true reflection of what is special about Eastbourne.

And in keeping with its continuing popularity as a summer playground the Council is now sympathetically upgrading the old 1920’s changing sheds and toilets at Days Beach beach.