Historic gaol funding on track

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A group aiming to restore an historic goldrush-era jailhouse in the Wakatipu are just $500 away from their fundraising goal. 

The Wakatipu Heritage Trust needs $5,920 all up for a conservation plan for the Arrowtown Gaol. Prior to last weekend, it had received $4000 from a Queenstown Lakes District Council Heritage Incentive Grant. A further $1395 was raised during last weekend, for the gaol which dates back to 1875. 

Last Friday, an auction at Millbrook Resort involving donated gifts from Korora Trading Company, Peregrine Wines and Lakes District Museum raised $975 whilst a basket auction during the Macetown Miner’s Camp last Saturday raised $420. 

Remarkables Market, Wild Hare Wines, Lakes District Museum, Department of Conservation staff, Marion Borrell and community donated wines, home baking and preserves to the basket. 

Wakatipu Heritage Trust chair Susan Stevens says the gaol fell into disrepair in the 1950s but was saved in 1961 when the building and land around it were declared a reserve and Lakes District Museum was given responsibility for it. 

The museum paid to ring-drain the building to ward off rising damp in the 1970s but unfortunately it continued to decline and now needs urgent work on drainage, plastering, re-pointing, internal fabric repairs and possible earthquake strengthening. 

A conservation plan will identify the heritage values of the building and include policies to guide its conservation, future use and development. 

Stevens says forming a conservation plan is essential to ensure that the building’s history and cultural heritage significance are clearly recorded and any restoration is consistent with established conservation criteria.