Welcome to the Bakehouse Museum in Millers Flat

Located in the heart of Millers Flat, you can’t miss the museum building directly in front of you as you come over the Millers Flat bridge. The Bakehouse Museum is run by the local community who volunteer their time to open and close the museum as well as sell a few local crafts. The museum has been totally restored back to its former glory even with a working oven! Please do come in and visit. Entry is free but all donations are very welcome.

Email : [email protected]

Book a group tour of the Bakehouse

Group bookings are always welcome. We offer guided tours by volunteers who are passionate about the Bakehouse.

We can offer visits to explore the building and see into the ovens at a nominal fee or, for an extra cost, bake bread for each member of your group.

We try to accommodate all requests for visits but please note all our guides and bakers are volunteers. We group baking days together as the cost of heating the ovens is substantially more than keeping them warm once up to heat.

Please email us for further information: [email protected]

Bakehouse Museum Update Information

Connect with us on Facebook for the latest up to date information on baking, opening hours and contacts.

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Memories of Millers Flat Facebook Group

Please join our facebook group titled Memories of Millers Flat and share it with anyone you know with a connection to Millers Flat. Please consider posting any stories, photos, etc, both past and present that are relevant.

History of the Bakehouse Museum

The Millers Flat Bakehouse was built by Mr Louis Faigan who founded the township’s general store in 1892.

The first documented mention of the building is found in the Tuapeka Times, dated 13th June 1908. It was stated that “Mr Faigan of Millers Flat is making additions to his premises in the way of a bakery.” Presumably, Louis Faigan would have learned how a wood oven worked from his father Aaron, who was a baker.

Outside of the Bakehouse Muesum in Millers Flat (1)

On the 18th of July, a report in the Times said the bakery was “well forward with the oven being finished.” It was recorded that it was “a big acquisition and a decided improvement in the appearance of Millers Flat.”

On the 5th of September, the Tuapeka Times recorded that “Mr Faigan’s bakery is all but complete. The ovens are to the back of the building, and the front comprises a shop, tea, and refreshment room with seating capacity for 12 people.”

On the 21st of October, the Times stated that “tempting eatables and refreshments were supplied from Millers Flat’s new bakery, this being catering for an entertaining evening.”

The bakehouse is a wooden clad building that includes a substantial brick and stone oven and a bakery room to the rear. The tearoom and a small shop operated in the front room of the building.

Mr Nat Campbell (Snr) was one of the earliest bakers. He worked at the Ettrick Bakery before coming to Millers Flat. Louis Faigan’s daughters operated the Tearoom with bread and cakes being sold from the shop. In the early days, baked goods would have been delivered around the district in a horse and cart.

Inside the Bakehouse Muesum in Millers Flat (1)

Mr Nathaniel Campbell (Jnr) took over the business in 1919. He learned his trade at the Kaikorai Bakery in Dunedin. He trained some of his family as bakers and his daughters, Claire, Ruby, and Iris worked in the very popular Tearooms.

1939 saw the lease transferred to Mr Frank Vercoe of Roxburgh. The making of bread was shifted to Roxburgh, and the lease was not renewed.

Two local women, Phyllis Peak (nee McDonald) and Daisy Lister (nee Orr) remember being employed as waitresses during the period when the tearooms were operated by Mr Vercoe.

During World War 2 the building was used as a storage place for the local home guard.

Sign at the Bakehouse Museum

For many years after the war ended, Ivan Faigan, (son of Leopold) who had been a radio operator during the war, used the front part of the building as a hobby radio repair workshop.

Joe Faigan used an area to craft wooden toys for children with his paint tins stored in the old ice cream cabinet. Leopold Faigan washed bottles there using a copper to heat water, and Teepol was used as soap.

Bottles were rinsed in a second tin bath and placed, top downward, in a rack to dry. They were refilled with turpentine or kerosene, an early recycling enterprise.

The bakery remained as it was when the last baker finished and many of the items on display are original to the building.

Following the sale of the shop to the community, the Bakehouse remained unused. A meeting was called in 1991 to gauge interest in restoring the building. The restored building is believed to be the only working example of an early 20th-century bakery in New Zealand.

Therefore, it is a unique point of difference that we hope will help attract visitors to Millers Flat.

Inside the front of the Bakehouse Muesum in Millers Flat

Official opening of the fully restored Bakehouse – 28 October 2019

Please click here to view the folder of photos from the open day.

Restoration History of the Bakehouse

Article by Otago Daily Times 30 Sept 2019

The Millers Flat Bakehouse was closed down when the Roxburgh Hydro works started and Mr Vercoe did all the baking in Roxburgh after the installation of new electric ovens.

Back in 1991 a group attended the annual meeting of the Faigan Store Trust and asked for permission to restore the old Bakehouse as it was an eyesore when you came over the bridge. It was finally agreed and a committee was formed lead by Mrs Betty Adams to make progress in the restoration.

Getting funds was the main priority and on Sunday lunch time a meal was provided with an international theme and a guest speaker provided. These were held monthly but the profits were low so another angle was taken. Local farmers were asked to fatten calves and when ready were sent to the freezing works and sold. The Bakehouse Committee bought the calves off a Stock agent and agreeable farmers raised them. This was very profitable and raised a lot of cash. An approach to the C.O. Lakes Trust for funding was also undertaken but for some unknown reason, we could not access these funds. Upon some inquiry, we found we had to own the land the Bakehouse was on as it was still part of the Faigans Store Trust. The subdivision was done but left a small section for us.  After some lengthy delays, we finally had the title of the property in our name and funds could be allocated. Again more delays and this time after some backdoor detective work we found that our committee was too small so we had to co-op more committee members to the satisfaction of the Lakes Trust. This was done and funding was allocated, some $160,000. Delays again in getting a builder to start but it was consents for drainage and sewerage and since we only had a small section there was nowhere to go. We asked if we could tap into the Faigan’s Store septic tank but as this building was under option for sale we could not. However the neighbour on the South side was retired and his section became too big to manage and offered half of it to the Bakehouse Trust at a reasonable price to which we bought. This also gave us underground power access and water supply and an area for a septic tank.  It was all go. The builders started and a new quote had to be arranged and by this time the cost had gone up to $260,000. Again an approach to the Lakes Trust was made but because of the long delay in building our original grant had not been uplifted so we had to reapply for consent again. This was much easier as everything was in place. As part of the reconstruction and the funding criteria we had to keep the renovations within that time frame and that as much of the original material had to be reused in the work. Breen’s Construction who did the work have a department the reproduces copies of timbers to match the originals and this was a god send. Finally, after 28 years the Bakehouse will open Monday Labour Weekend 2019.

The oven is fully restored and in fine working order, there has been a couple of bake off of bread which came out well. It took five days to heat the oven with wood and coal to get the bricks hot so as to bake the bread off. As the day goes by the oven cools and baking is done to the heat of the oven so product that requires a high heat is baked off first and product that requires less heat is baked at the end of the working day.

It is not like electricity where you flick a switch and you have instant heat. Should you have to fire up during the day you cannot bake because of the ash settling on baking products so planning your bake off is premium.

As we have been testing things out to make sure everything is in working order it is quite interesting to hear comments from those who stick their head in the door and what their expectations are. This is a period in time before electricity, no electric lights, no electric mixers, just candles and a fire.


4 Reviews

Rating 0

4 Reviews


  • Paul Kerr

    I first visited Millars Flat in early ’15 when I had to great lick to meet Betty and William Adams. I learned about the restoration project and visited again in ’17 and on a return cycle from Someones Darling grave had a lovely encounter with “two Thumbs” and his singing dog. Also , and had dined with Betty and William my brother and I met with Dennis of Jimmys Pies. Lovely photos of restoration and am sending a Christmas card to Betty. Please past on to her or family, if it lands with you.
    Best regards from Ireland and may get to call in about four years.



  • caroline

    I visited the BakeHouse yesterday 25.1.2020 with the Good Company bus trip, we all came away with a lovely loaf of warm bread which most of us would be having for tea. The history is so interesting as was told by a nice man. I also got a lovely jar of boiled lollies as yet I have still got to open. Thank you. Caroline


  • Terry Johnson

    Yesterday (4/08/20) 22 of our Catlins Senior Citizen’s Club members visited the Millers Flat bakery/museum and were treated extra well by Rick, Deirdri and Barbara. They all made us feel very welcome and gave us an excellent run down on the history of the Bakery and Rick told us all about his “experience” in bread making. A great collection of bakery implements and appliances from the old days, some of which are still useful today. On behalf of our Club I would very much like to thank all 3 of you for a special afternoon and friendship. All those involved in this restoration project can be very proud. Thank you, we will spread the word. Cheers. Terry


  • Peter Geerlings

    September the 5th 2020
    This morning on my push bike from Roxburgh to millersflat to buy a old fashioned loaf of bread made in the traditional way.
    And yes it was just the best taste smell and texture (10 out of 10) .
    Me only recently settled in Roxburgh no cash on me only cards and before I knew it a lokaal lady passed me her loaf to me. Thank you so much ! What a beautiful morning it was !


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