Topic: Taylors Mistake Cave Dwellings
Taylors Mistake is well known for its history of Cave Dwellings.
Recreational fishermen travelling over the hill from Sumner to Taylors Mistake would spend the weekend in the caves. The natural shelter of the many caves in the bay enabled the visitors to stay without having to face the walk back to their homes after a days fishing.
The first permanent settlement in the bay was established by Christchurch painter, Tom Archbold in 1879. This settlement was to the south of Taylor's Mistake not far from Boulder Bay.
An engraver by the name of A.P. Osborn (commonly mis-spelt Osborne) was the second person to establish a property within the caves of Taylor's. He built just north of Archbold's dwelling and even established a telephone link of sorts between the two properties which used lemonade bottles as insulators. Affectionately know has the pilgrim he was to become one of the most well known figures in the bay, as well as a founding member of the Surf Club. Pilgrims Rest, as his property was know, became a popular spot for visitors but this popularity required Osborn to continually work on the track to provide safer access. It is believed that he worked on the track for over 20yrs.
The most famous Cave Dwelling of Taylor's Mistake is the Hermitage of Harris Bay. Jesse Worgan, a Christchurch dentist was the original owner for about 15 years before he sold it to Frederick Simpson in the early 1920s. This dwelling reached back 19 meters into the cave, was 9 meters wide and was 5 meters high; there was also a small cave next door that was used as a bedroom for female visitors. The contents of the Hermitage were mostly floated around from Sumner by raft on rare calm days and included, a 3 meter oak table and chairs, a settee, sideboards for crockery, bunks an Edison cylinder phonogram a crystal set radio and an upright piano. The dwelling itself was mostly constructed from souvenir materials from the 1906 Exhibition and the old Fullers Theatre.
Today the only remaining cave dwelling in the area is Hobson's Cave, also known as Whare Moki. This cave in Hobson's Bay has been modified over the years and has been susceptible to damage from storms over the years.