Kinross Cottages are located on the old Kinross Station in Gibbston Valley, established in the late 1860's by pioneering Otago farmer, Thomas Kinross, who ran a thriving Trading Post, farm and gold agency on this site. At Kinross Cottages, we pay tribute to Thomas and his family who were respected and hardworking members of the very early Gibbston Community.
The History of Kinross Station
Thomas Kinross was born in the hamlet of Kinbuck, 4 miles north of Dunblane, Scotland. He arrived in Central Otago in 1860, on the vessel Stormcloud. Thomas was well known in the area, with his store and post office an important focal point for the district. He lived in Gibbston for 60 years and was frequently referred to as the Grand Old Man of Gibbston.
Thomas returned to Scotland 10 years after discovering Otago in 1870 and married Helen Allan in Dunblane Cathedral. They returned to Gibbston and had 11 children, 9 of whom reached school age. The local school was 1 km from Kinross Station, and Thomas was Chairman of the school committee for 32 years. The historic school house is still just down the road from Kinross.
Over the years, Thomas acquired a farm consisting of small pockets of land, many of them previously owned by goldminers. He supplied meat and groceries to section owners, and if their accounts remained unpaid, he bought them out... It pays to pay your bill at Kinross! He eventually owned at least half the land between the Kinross store and the Nevis Bluff.
Thomas Kinross acted as postmaster at Gibbston for 51 years and passed away in 1921, aged 86. He is buried in Arrowtown cemetery alongside Helen and most of their family. From the 11 children there were only 3 grandchildren, and none of them carried on the Kinross name.
From the moment you first arrive at Kinross Cottages, this pioneering history is all around you. We are privileged to have access to the Kinross family history and many family photos, diaries and treasures, because of the generosity of the Blackman family. They, along with the Mutch family, are the great grandchildren of Thomas and Helen Kinross.
The property was purchased in early 2013 by Christine & John Erkkila from the Waikato. Together with the fast growing team at Kinross, the vision is to create a modern and attractive Cellar door, bistro and accommodation business here in Gibbston, whilst producing wine from the vineyard and paying tribute to the pioneering spirit of Thomas Kinross and his family.
On the hill above the cottages is the final resting place of Mavis (nee Kinross, Thomas's granddaughter) and her husband Gainor Blackman. The seat there provides a place for peace and contemplation under the sprawling Pine tree, planted by James and Tom Kinross when they were small boys on the property in the late 1890's.
The Orchard (site of our Orchard and Pisa Çottages), was planted over 100 years ago by the Kinross family when they owned the property. It is now considered a heritage Orchard and produces beautiful fruit in summer - plums, apples and apricots that we now use to make conserves & jams to complement our delicious bistro food.