1930s household memorabilia wanted


Janet Frame House is in its tenth year of operation and trust chairperson, Carol Berry, says they are always on the look out for genuine 1930s household items which could add to the experience of visiting the Eden Street property.

She said people visit the house for both heritage and literary reasons and the trust try to add to the ambience of the home where possible.

“Visiting Janet Frame House is quite a contemplative experience, we’re not looking for excitement.”

The Janet Frame Eden Street Trust look after the maintenance, security, electricity and rates of the property.

“Our mission is to protect the house and to promote the appreciation of literature,” Ms Berry said.

“And we get a lot of enthusiastic help from volunteers so that we can continue having people go through it.”

About 500 people go through each year, some who know a lot about Janet Frame, others not much and the remainder are simply curious.

The famous author lived in the house from 1931-1943 and incorporated it into her first novel Owls Do Cry.

Novelist, Margaret Drabble, recently wrote a new introduction to Owls Do Cry and described the book as an ‘exhilerating and dazzling prelude to her long and successful career.”

“Although the story of the Withers family is sombre, indeed tragic, what remains in the readers mind is the glory and intensity of the language, the heightened imagery, the brightness of an early world.”

“She transforms the real (and at times uncomfortably) New Zealand provincial seaside town of Oamaru into a mythical and magical Waimaru where places, events and characters are seen with the sharp remembering eye of redeeming love.”

Janet Frame House reopens in November (open 2-4pm daily) for the summer.


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