Original Home Builder and Family
Mr Archibald McKinlay (1826 - 1910)
Mr McKinlay was born in Scotland and became an apprentice in the drapery trade. He decided to immigrate to Australia in 1853 with his friend Edward Herbert. They then both travelled to Tuapeka in Otago NZ and found prospecting for gold in Gabriel’s Gully quite lucrative, discovering $2000 worth in 1861. They bought a goods store and used contacts back in Scotland to supply drapes, groceries, hardware, timber and wine. It was very successful supplying many smaller stores in the region.
Mr McKinlay built “The Sycamores”(now Lady of Lawrence) in three stages from approximately 1860. The brick addition was completed in 1902. Archibald had eight children with his wife, Catherine; John, William, Mary, Margaret, James, Archibald, John (Jack) and Frances. He is described as a man “of stirling character and strict probity in all matters”. He was also a strong supporter of the Presbyterian Church.
A photo of Mr McKinlay has been placed at the Peel Street entrance door.
Following his death in 1910, his three maiden daughters lived at the property. By the 1960’s the house was gifted to the Presbyterian Church for use as a manse. The Devereaux family from Dunedin owned the property after this and it was primarily used as a holiday home. Around 2003 the Rohan family purchased the property and undertook major renovations to include B&B accommodation plus a large garage workshop and boiler room. After this the house was placed on the market and purchased by Ms Verity Wolf on April 9th 2015. Verity spent months re-decorating the house to provide a more boutique B&B accommodation but after three years sold the property in November 2018.
The new owners Rolf and Kathleen Lilleby, originally from Auckland and Scotland respectively have purchased the property and are the new hosts of The Lady of Lawrence.
Reference: Thank you to Otago & Southland Heritage houses by Rodney Wells and Tessa Ward for information on the history of the property. Thank you to Rodney for allowing the beautiful sketches of the property to be used.