Cob construction was a popular building method in early colonial Marlborough, and a number of buildings remain around the district, with the most famous being the Riverlands Cob Cottage.
Cob is a mixture of soil material including clay and sand, along with fibrous material such as straw. Already known to European colonists before they arrived in New Zealand, it was an ideal building method on arrival in New Zealand, given ready availability of raw materials with minimal demands on infrastructure and equipment. Cob buildings were fire resistant, and potentially more resiliant to earthquakes than masonry, which also required more effort to construct.
Riverlands Cob Cottage
The Riverlands Cob Cottage on State Highway One, a few kilometres south-east of Blenheim is the best known and one of the best preserved examples of cob construction in Marlborough. The Riverlands Cob Cottage stands on what was the Riverlands Run, established by Charles Redwood in the 1860s.
Robin Hood Bay Cottage
The Robin Hood Bay cottage, is not strictly a pure cob cottage, but rather of mud and stud construction, with the walls filled with cob. The cottage was a whaler's cottage built around 1848, and is thought to be the former home of Captain Jackson and his bride who settled in Robin Hood Bay in 1848.
Bartletts Creek Cob Cottage
The cob cottage in Bartletts Road on private land is another example of cob construction that is in reasonable condition, and has been the subject of a private restauration effort. The cottage was built in 1864 or before by either Joseph Bartlett or his son, Thomas Bartlett, although exact details are unknown. Originally the cottage had a tiled roof, but this was subsquently replaced with corrugated iron. Prior to construction, the family lived in a cave for a period of time.
Molesworth Cob Cottage
The Molesworth Cob Cottage is a well preserved cob cottage built in 1885. Due to its remote location, and harsh climatic conditions, although the cottage is in a public reserve, road access is restricted to the period between Labour Weekend and Easter, and may close at short notice due to weather.
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