Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 41, September 1997
This distinctive home, constructed of solid heart kauri and nestled into the side of Union Hill, Waihi, was built in 1905 for a Mr Henry Roche, an engineer who was appointed to the Waihi Gold Mining company in 1896. It was consequently known for many years as the Roche homestead. Ownership changed a number of times with various mining officials living in it. In 1925, after standing empty for a time, it was purchased by a Mr Nisbet, an old miner, for £500.
Over the years the house has been adapted, but changed little, to conform with the requirements of modern living. The challenge of converting a small kitchen with adjacent maid's room, fell to Ted and Tui Grant, owners of the house in the seventies. A large modern kitchen resulted after knocking down a wall or two and removing the outdated coal range. The original french doors, leading to the front verandah, remain in the adjacent dining-cum-family room.
Leading off the family room, a conservatory, where plants had once been grown for the gardens, has given way to a small study and guest bedroom with en suite. Across the hallway, with its original front door also leading on to the verandah, is the lounge, featuring a Victorian fireplace, bay window and high board and batten ceiling. The modern bathroom at the rear of the house completes the lower floor.
A flight of stairs leads to a balustrade landing and three bedrooms. The chimney from the fireplace in the downstairs lounge rises through the landing and helps to provide heating for the upstairs rooms. The bedrooms, one with en suite, feature sloping ceilings, dormer-windows and skirting boards of Victorian vintage, contrasting with modern furniture and wallpapers.
The garden contains a number of large, old trees, a tennis court and brick barbecue area.
Today this homestead, would be considered to be one of the grander homes from the mining era.