The building has a significant history with the first part built in 1854 by Sefton Moorhouse, the man whose name was given to Moorhouse Ave in Christchurch and the Moorhouse Range and Mt Sefton in the Southern Alps. An addition to the homestead was built in 1874.
Spreydon Lodge, the homestead, while not a registered heritage builidng, is one of the oldest remaining houses in south western Christchurch and might well have been demolished if not for Halswell Commons’ restoration and renovation project.
The homestead has been moved a short distance and reoriented to position it as the entry point for the subdivision.
Interestingly, the nearby Spreydon suburb took its name from the lodge, not the other way around.
Spreydon Lodge Stables was established on this site in the mid 1980s by the late Wayne Francis as the home of the “Franco Harness Racing Stables” and” Franco Breeding”.
It initially consisted of 180 acres in Halswell on the rural boundary of Christchurch before Mr Francis added two further properties to run his racing and breeding operation from. Over the years he built up a large band of some of the best-credentialled standardbred broodmares in Australasia.
It is New Zealand’s largest standardbred breeding and training establishment and still exists today in a different location.
The site for Halswell Commons was chosen strategically to align with the Southwest Area Plan. This plan, created in 2007/2008, integrates land-use planning with key infrastructure projects and reflects how the local community wants the area to develop.
Since its initiation there has been a significant ongoing commitment on behalf of the Christchurch City Council and affected landowners such as Danne Mora Holdings to develop the North Halswell area (bounded by Halswell Road, Hendersons Road, Sparks Road and Milns Road) for housing and a neighbourhood centre.
The Halswell Commons project is headed by Danne Mora Holdings Ltd, a land development company undertaking large residential developments in Auckland, Whangarei and now Christchurch.
Spreydon Lodge (the homestead) and Danne Mora Holdings are wholly owned by the estate of WJ Francis.