Collection, Mrs Heron of Roxburgh; unknown; 1900?; RX.2018.184


Collection, Mrs Heron of Roxburgh

About this object

Harriet Heron
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harriet Heron
Born Harriet Ann Buttress, c. 1836, Deal, Kent, England
Died: October 28, 1933 (aged 96–97)
Occupation: Business owner
Spouse(s) William Bowbyes, Henry Heron

Harriet Ann Heron (née Buttress, ca. 1836 – 28 October 1933) was an early settler and business owner in Central Otago, New Zealand, and one of the few women who lived in gold mining camps during the Otago gold rush.[1]

Early life
Heron grew up in Deal, Kent, England, the daughter of Thomas Buttress and Elizabeth Buttress, née Carraway. She married William Bowbyes and they emigrated to New Zealand. Bowbyes drowned at Timaru in 1860, and in the following year she married Henry Heron and moved to Dunedin.[1]

Adult life
Heron and her husband initially lived in Tuapeka, where they ran a butcher's shop. For some time she ran the store single-handed as her husband went to Wetherstones to work on a gold mine, and then to the Clutha River area. Heron sold the business and joined her husband at the mining site, located at Fourteen Mile Beach. For their first three years there they lived in a tent, and Heron was the only woman in the camp.[1]

The Herons later built a schist and mud mortar cottage to live in, which was originally located on the shores of the Clutha River; however since the river was dammed and flooded in 1956, it now sits on the banks of Lake Roxburgh.[2] The cottage is maintained by Heritage New Zealand and known locally as "Mrs Heron's Cottage."[2]

In 1875 Heron and her husband moved to Roxburgh and ran the Commercial Hotel. Henry died in 1896, and Heron continued to run the hotel alone until 1913. During that time, she had a new building constructed for the hotel, a large brick two-story building which became known as "one of the largest and most convenient hotels in Central Otago".[3] The Commercial Hotel is now used for backpackers' accommodation.[4]

Heron died in 1933.[1]


[1] Thomson, Jane (ed.) (1998). Southern People - A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. Dunedin, New Zealand: Longacre Press. p. 223. ISBN 1 877135 11 9.

[2] "Mrs Heron's Cottage | Jackie Gillies + Associates | Conservation + Creative Reuse of Historic Buildings". Archived from the original on 2015-01-13. Retrieved 2016-06-23.

[3] "Roxburgh | NZETC". Retrieved 2016-06-23.

[4] "The Commercial Hotel - Backpackers | Roxburgh Backpackers Roxburgh Accommodation - Overview". Retrieved 2016-06-23.



Maker Role


Date Made




Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, Central Otago, Roxburgh

Medium and Materials

organic, animal, feather
organic, vegetal, wood
organic, vegetal, fibre, cotton
processed material, metal
processed material, glass
processed material, paper
processed material, paper, cardboard

Inscription and Marks

see images


not noted at time of accession

Subject and Association Keywords

Local History

Subject and Association Keywords

Business and Retail

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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