The grand am­bi­tion of her­itage

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

The Ellesmere Her­itage Park in Lee­ston has come a long way, but to be­come the Sel­wyn dis­trict’s her­itage and tourism hub, or­gan­is­ers need ex­ter­nal help.

Chair­man of Ellesmere Her­itage Park Trust Chris Pea­cock said the park hoped to re­model it­self as the Sel­wyn Her­itage Cen­tre, a base for her­itage tourism in the dis­trict.

‘‘We don’t want to be an old tin shed full of old stuff. We re­ally want to be an ex­cit­ing place to come,’’ Pea­cock said.

As part of that, the trust hoped it would be able to at­tract tourists to stay on site. It was hoped in­for­ma­tion about other her­itage sites and trails would en­cour­age vis­its to other sites in the area.

‘‘It’s tourist fo­cused to get peo­ple to get out and see the Sel­wyn, spend a few days here before they go down to Queen­stown,’’ Pea­cock said.

Start­ing in Oc­to­ber 2012, Pea­cock said the trust and lo­cal vol­un­teers had made good progress on con­vert­ing the for­mer coun­cil work­shop but had now part­nered with Geraint How­ells and Alan Direen of de­sign and con­sul­tancy spe­cial­ists Cre­ative In­ten­tions. The part­ner­ship would help the trust with fundrais­ing and de­sign ‘‘to get the build­ing to stan­dard where [it] can open to the public’’.

Pea­cock said the park would need around $600,000 to be­gin ren­o­va­tion and earth­quake strength­en­ing work on the main build­ing. He hoped work could be­gin next year.

The park had more than 7000 do­nated her­itage items ready for dis­play once the build­ing was com­pleted. Those items ranged from things like butcher’s meat hooks to large farm ma­chin­ery and an en­tire set­tler’s cot­tage.

Built in the late 1800s by Ed­ward Car­roll, the first Euro­pean set­tler in South­bridge, the cot­tage would even­tu­ally be­come part of a group her­itage era build­ings dis­play in the park’s yard.

‘‘We’d be us­ing the cot­tage to dis­play the do­mes­tic items we have to give a show of life in the 1910s,’’ Pea­cock said.

Doyle­ston man Kevin Tay­lor had been run­ning Tues­day work­ing bees with lo­cals for five years, Pea­cock said, help­ing the park ren­o­vate items and pro­vide land­scap­ing work.

‘‘We’ve been given so much stuff for free, we’ve been re­ally for­tu­nate. Our vision is not to col­lect stuff, but to col­lect sto­ries. [The mu­seum] is a place to pre­serve those sto­ries.’’

MATTHEW SAL­MONS/STUFF

Chris Pea­cock hopes the park will be­come a hub for her­itage tourism in the Sel­wyn dis­trict.

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