Gaol Fundraising Underway
Date: 18 March 2013
Gaol Fundraising Underway
With help from several local businesses and enthusiastic support from the community, the Wakatipu Heritage Trust raised $1,395 over the weekend in its first fundraising efforts toward restoring the Arrowtown Gaol.
The Trust was established in 2012 as a joint initiative of the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Department of Conservation (DOC) to conserve restore and develop historic heritage for the benefit of the community. Their top priority is helping the Lakes District Museum restore the Arrowtown Gaol, which is the best gold-town gaol in the country.
Korora Trading Company, Peregrine Wines and Lakes District Museum combined efforts to donate two gift boxes, which were raffled at Millbrook Resort on Friday night.
On Saturday, Remarkables Market, Wild Hare Wines, Lakes District Museum, DOC staff, Marion Borrell and community members donated wine, home baking, preserves, and other items to an old-fashioned basket auction as part of the Macetown Miner’s Camp organised by DOC.
The basket auction in Macetown raised $420 and the raffle at Millbrook raised $975 toward the $5,920 required for the Gaol conservation plan. In combination with a $4,000 Heritage Incentive Grant from Council, the Trust is only $525 away from having raised the full amount.
Chairman of the Wakatipu Heritage Trust, Susan Stevens, said, “We are absolutely delighted with the outcome at both events and we’re very excited to get stuck into working with the museum, DOC, Council and the community to protect such an important building from our past.”
Built in 1875, the Arrowtown Gaol is unique in New Zealand.
Law and order was always an issue in any goldfield or gold-town. Drunk and disorderly behaviour, gold stealing, claim jumping and assaults were common.
The first gaols were actually large logs where offenders were chained and put on public display. Arrowtown had its log, then a small celled timber gaol, until the handsome Georgian styled stone gaol was built for 500 pounds in 1875.
After falling into disrepair in the 1950’s, the gaol was saved in 1961 when the building and the land around it were declared a reserve and the Arrowtown Museum was given responsibility for it. The museum paid to ring drain the building to ward off rising damp in the 1970's. Unfortunately, in spite of this, the building continued to decline and now needs urgent work on drainage, plastering, re-pointing, internal fabric repairs and, possibly, earthquake strengthening.
The first step is to fundraise for a conservation plan, which will identify the heritage values of the building and include policies to guide their conservation, future use and development. A conservation plan is essential to ensure that the building’s history and cultural heritage significance are clearly recorded and that restoration of the building is consistent with established conservation criteria.