The Cromwell Methodist Church building was officially opened on 17 April 1891, which makes it 131 years old on Easter Sunday.
The Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust (OGHT) has been based in the building since 2006. It was unable to celebrate the 130th last year, due to covid restrictions, but now has a ‘Family Funday’ planned.
OGHT treasurer Odette Hopgood-Bride says, “We are planning a wee party to celebrate the birthday. It’s the plainest of the four churches in the block, but she has some great heritage.”
The land was purchased in 1890. William Gere and Leslie Arthur were the stonemasons of this and many other of the heritage buildings in the region. William married one of the Marsh Sisters, so there is a connection between this and McNulty House.
Leslie Arthur is the great-grandfather of former prime minister of New Zealand Helen Clark.
The Trust has been preparing to buy the building, situated on the corner of Erris and Donegal Streets in Old Cromwell, over the last five years, and Odette says, “We really do need to preserve it, and keep it for the community. We’ve put a lot of work into it.”
The Trust has been granted $50,000 from Central Lakes Trust, and will be in full fund-raising mode to complete the renovation and preservation. Earthquake strengthening will be a major component of this.
The Fun Day will provide a chance for the public to see through the old church, and the plan is to offer it to the community for meetings and functions. “As we are just coming off the covid cobweb we want to show what a good facility it is.”
There will be horse and cart rides, gold panning, devonshire teas and a treasure hunt as part of the celebrations, and a chance to peruse the Cavalcade movies and displays – a great Easter Sunday family activity.