Encounter the love that built an Indian paradise at Alberton, Auckland.
150 years ago, newlyweds Allan and Sophia Kerr Taylor transformed a colonial farmhouse into a majestic, Raj-inspired mansion.
Join us at Alberton these school holidays to discover stories of love, loss, power and prestige at the heart of Auckland's nineteenth century social scene.
Mildred Kerr Taylor, Xmas 1897. Photo: Alberton Collection, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
The Original Power Couple
Kerr Taylor family, 23 April 1885. Photo: Alberton Collection, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
Allan Kerr Taylor was still a teenager in 1849 when he spent part of his inheritance on a block of land at Mt Albert. The seventh child of William Taylor, a captain in the 39th Madras Native Infantry, he grew the estate to 500 acres.
Sophia Louisa Davis grew up in missionary circles in Kaitaia, but on her marriage to widower Allan Kerr Taylor in 1865, she became the lady of Alberton and a leading socialite.
Alberton was built in 1863 as a large but conventional timber farmhouse. Fast-forward a decade and the residence was transformed into a grand Raj-themed mansion, inspired by the country of Allan’s birth.
You’ll immediately spot those Indian colonial references in the ornate verandas bookended by exotic corner towers. It was here that the couple would host garden parties, mounted hunts and archery for Auckland's fashionable set.
SOPHIA KERR TAYLOR AND HER CHILDREN, C. 1890S. PHOTO: ALBERTON COLLECTION, HERITAGE NEW ZEALAND POUHERE TAONGA.
After the sudden death of her husband in 1890, Sophia Kerr Taylor and her daughters sold fruit, vegetables and flowers to cover expenses. Her astute business sense helped her manage fragile finances for 40 years.
In 1892, Sophia became a member of the first committee of the Auckland branch of the Women’s Franchise League. The following year she signed the Women's Suffrage Petition along with her daughter Winnifred.
Hollie Smith on set in Alberton. Photo courtesy of Ten Canaries. All rights reserved.
Alberton on Screen
While Alberton no longer hosts wild hunts or country galas, it has become a popular destination for film and television crews. One of the most recent productions was Hollie Smith's fantastic music video for "You" featuring the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
For more information on filming at Alberton, please contact us.