Plaque to recognise Stella efforts

By don.farmer@age.co.nz -
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Stalwart acknowledged 40 years on

HISTORIC: The old settlers cottage in the grounds of Cobblestones Museum, Greytown.PHOTO/ALISA YONG
HISTORIC: The old settlers cottage in the grounds of Cobblestones Museum, Greytown.PHOTO/ALISA YONG

Plans are afoot to belatedly recognise the contribution that a Greytown woman who died more than 40 years ago made to the formation of Cobblestones Museum.

Stella Bull was one of those in at the ground floor with the establishment of the museum, gifting a cottage, known as the Settler's Cottage, and helping to set the stage for the museum's existence.

Mrs Bull, who died of cancer in 1972, was a passionate supporter of the town and was involved in many organisations to enhance its beauty. She was president of the Greytown Beautifying Society and a member of the Royal Horticultural Society and Forest and Bird.

Former Greytown resident Don Knight, who lives in Tauranga, has instigated moves to honour the gift of the cottage with a plaque in memory of Mrs Bull.

Mr Knight, 79, was also instrumental in setting up Cobblestones which he did as a Jaycee in tandem with the Greytown Jaycee Chapter.

His plan to recognise Mrs Bull's gift comes 44 years after Greytown Jaycees, which has long since been wound up, resolved to name the cottage after her but never got to actually doing so. On record is a Jaycee resolution dated December 12, 1972, moved by Jack Hannan and seconded by Guy Brunton granting permission to name the cottage in memory of Mrs Bull.

Mr Knight said Mrs Bull had owned the cottage originally sited on land alongside St Lukes Anglican Church and had gifted it to Cobblestones in 1971.

"It was one of the many contributions she made so selflessly during her life to ensure the heritage and beauty of Greytown's many attractions would be preserved for others to enjoy," he said.

Cobblestones had come into being when the Tully property in Main St was subdivided and put up for sale, and an idea formed to buy the Tully house and half-an-acre of the land to develop a historic complex centred around the stables and cobbled yard.

Mr Knight said the idea was discussed with Mrs Bull "and her subsequent enthusiasm and guidance was a defining factor in the birth of Cobblestones".

"The idea was fine-tuned and eventually presented to Greytown Jaycees as a possible community project, discussions with the Greytown Trust Lands Trust followed, and Cobblestones became a reality," he said.

Mr Knight said it was only after recent visits to Cobblestones that he had become aware of what has been achieved over the wider area - which encompasses the land originally bought by the Jaycees and a much larger area leased to Cobblestones by Greytown Trust Lands Trust - since he had moved north.

The visit, he said, was the catalyst to revisit the long-forgotten Jaycee resolution "and action it in an effort to give Stella the recognition I consider she deserves".

"I realise there has been a lot of changes since the 1970s and most people now associated with Cobblestones may not be fully aware of Stella's involvement in Greytown matters.

"I have talked to both some of the remaining members of the Jaycee chapter who took on the project in the first place, and Stella Bull's family, to discuss whether to proceed with the matter.

"Their feedback has been very positive and the consensus is that the most practicable way of implementing the Jaycee resolution would be to have a small plaque erected beside the cottage entrance gate.

"It is my understanding that Cobblestones Trust will shortly be erecting information plaques for each of the buildings in the complex and it would seem obvious that, for consistency, anything done for Stella should follow the format of these plaques," Mr Knight said.

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