Lauderdale was originally one of the farmstead blocks for the 44,800 acre Lauder Station, established in the late 1850s. One of the early owners was Dr Thomas Black of Melbourne, who also established "Black's", now known as Ophir.
This is the era from which the three "farm" schist buildings date. They were originally the Married Quarters, the Stables (including single men's quarters, blacksmith's and stables), and the Chaff House, now renovated and used as accommodation. There are a number of other small structures such as the stone dog kennels and the huts on the hill which make for interesting discovering or running around for children.
The image here dates from 1873, showing the original mudbrick homestead and farm buildings as well as the young redwoods.
The stone sheep yards on the right on the way into the property also date from this time and interestingly were the central yards at the conjunction of Lauder Station, Matakanui Station and Galloway Station, and were shared by all three properties.
At that time, the redwoods (Wellingtonias - Sequioiadendrum Giganteum) were planted along the driveway to the main house (now ruins). Fourteen of these remain and look as grand as you would expect from 150-year old specimens in a parkland setting.
The stone homestead was then built on the site of the previous homestead in 1875. As one would expect from a stone structure with a redwood-lined driveway, the ruins are quite substantial and comprise three 'rooms' in an avant-garde open plan format! The large open area with a macrocarpa table which can seat 20, a separate sitting area, and a further room with a fireplace.
When Lauder Station was sold in 1882, the owners at that time (the Handyside brothers and John Roberts who had bought it in 1869) kept the farmstead block as they had become quite attached to it. The existing Lauder Station has its own historic farmstead which is sometimes confused with what is now Lauderdale.
The homestead was then bought in 1886 by a gold miner from Hamburg in Germany, Mr Claude Gerkins, who had made a small fortune on the nearby St Bathans goldfields and had been in the district for 34 years. In 1896 the homestead was destroyed in a fire. There are conflicting accounts about this, but the previous evening Mr Gerkins had been in the local pub disclaiming that his homestead was in no danger ever of fire. Some people thought his son had come up from Dunedin, quarreled over money, resulting in the death of Mr Gerkins and the laying of a fire to destroy any evidence. After the fire there was some searching of the ruins and estate for a hoard of gold which was never found.
After this a new mudbrick homestead was built, together with three mudbrick outbuildings and the mudbrick "Apple House", used for apple storage. This is now a family home.
The property was then farmed for many years by the Leask family, before being bought by David and Karen Smythe around 1996. David and Karen spent some time clearing the grounds and creating the parkland we enjoy today as well as stablising the ruins. They then brought the Becks Church onto the grounds as well as some historic wooden structures from Palmerston. These wooden structures are the current Pavilion, two one-bedroom units and the double room used as the office. Finally, the Smythes added the "barn", function centre - a modern building based on the design of a large barn.
Lauderdale was then bought by Karen and Jean-Michel Jefferson in 2010 as a family home and base for their inbound travel business, Ahipara. They decided to keep Lauderdale open for events. Over the years, the 92 acre farmstead block shrunk to 60 acres, but includes a number of areas which event organisers are welcome to use as a part of their events.
The top block - including the barn, the Becks Church, the cricket pitch, and the petanque court.
The middle block - including the homestead ruins, the redwoods, the croquet lawn, and the two wooden units - but not the office or the existing homestead which is of course private, as the family home.
The farm block - including the Chaff House, Blacksmiths, Married Quarters, Pavilion, pig, sheep, alpaca and horse paddocks.
The river block - including 25 acres of broom and 1.5km of trout river frontage on the Manuherikia.