Brett’s Colonists’ Guide and Cyclopaedia of Useful Knowledge was first published in 1883. All information that could possibly be needed for the new settler to New Zealand was covered in this book. From how to keep bees, shoeing horses, making a will and treating sore nipples, to recipes for Jugged Hare and Christmas cake, the breadth of tips and tricks to living in the colonies is wide and variable.
Of the many different and fascinating chapters, one I particularly like is called Cottages for Settlers. The chapter is introduced with, “A large proportion of the country settlers of New Zealand are compelled, by the exigencies of their location, to become their own architects…” In the following pages “three designs of convenient cottages, of very simple construction, with specifications of the sizes and quantity of timber required to complete them…” are provided, with illustrations. Below is an example of one of these designs.