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The Homestead's History
The land initially belonged to the Deans brothers, whose homestead was Riccarton House in Riccarton.
William Derisley Wood leased the land and built what became known as Wood's Mill.
The weir in the Avon River was built in the 19th century and forms the Mona Vale mill pond, which still exists today.
Frederick Waymouth and his wife Alice purchased four acres of land and had a homestead built in 1899–1900, designed by architect Joseph Clarkson Maddison.
Waymouth sold the property to Annie Quayle Townend in 1905, who renamed it to Mona Vale after her mother's house in Tasmania. She added nine acres of land to the property and had a gate house built just off Fendalton Road. After the New Zealand International Exhibition, held in Hagley Park, finished in 1907, she purchased the Exhibition's fernery including its plants and had it reassembled at Mona Vale. Townend also added the Bathhouse to the property. She died in 1914.
In 1939, Mona Vale was purchased by Tracy Gough, founder of Gough, Gough and Hamer (known today as Gough Group, one of New Zealand’s largest privately owned businesses).
Keen horticulturalists, Tracy and first wife Julia employed the noted Canterbury landscape architect Alfred Buxton, to lay out the extensive gardens in the format they are enjoyed today. The lily pond was installed, a swimming pool added to the Bathhouse and Gough orchestrated the planting of the property in the rhododendrons, azaleas and exotic trees that give Mona Vale so much of its delightful haracter.
The property was sold in 1962 to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. When the church intended to subdivide the property and to demolish the homestead, a public outcry resulted in community fund-raising. The Christchurch City Council and the Riccarton Borough Council bought Mona Vale in June 1969 for the purpose of turning it into a public park. The purchase of Mona Vale is credited to Christchurch mayor Ron Guthrey.
The Homestead has since been operated as a restaurant, café and function centre, often used for weddings. Canterbury catering company Continental has proudly been Mona Vale Homestead's venue manager delivering weddings and special occasions in this historic venue, since 1978. The Homestead’s daily restaurant was closed for at the end of September 2018 so that the venue might be available for group bookings and special events more regularly. The restaurant reopened at the mid-February 2019 once again offering its superb High Teas, and a small menu of other light refreshment options.