Plaque rededicated at historic house

Admiring the new plaque outside the old doctor's residence in Kurow are, from left, Jim Meehan,...
Admiring the new plaque outside the old doctor's residence in Kurow are, from left, Jim Meehan, Malcolm McMillan and Robert Davidson. Photo by Jon Brocas.
A Historic Places Trust plaque was rededicated at the old doctor's residence in Kurow on Sunday - another reminder of the town's social security history.

The house, on the corner of Manse Rd and Robinson St, was built in 1891 as a condition of Dr William Stevens' residency.

When he moved to Christchurch in 1911, the house was then occupied by a Dr Watt, who was responsible for authoring the Waitaki hydro medical scheme before his retirement in 1928.

He was followed by Dr David McMillan, who earned the affectionate title "Little Doctor" for his skill, energy and willingness to answer calls at any hour.

During the construction of the Waitaki dam, the house was the site of meetings between Dr McMillan, the Rev Arnold Nordmeyer and Kurow School headmaster Andrew Davidson.

The trio, along with several supporting members of the community, devised what was to become the Social Securities Act of 1938 and the first welfare state system in the world.

A Historic Places Trust commemorative plaque was placed at the address in 1984 but it had weathered badly and become unreadable.

Andrew Davidson's daughter, Margaret Hall, initiated the replacement of the plaque with a more durable alternative.

It was rededicated in a small ceremony led by Kurow's Presbyterian minister the Rev Eric Mattock.

Mrs Hall attended the ceremony, along with her brother Robert Davidson and Dr McMillan's son, Malcolm.

The doctor's residence is now a private home.

The site is one of 22 featured in the Kurow Heritage Trail.

 

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