Quake-hit historic cottage restored to its former glory

The restoration of Canterbury’s oldest stone building – the Old Stone Cottage at Orton Bradley Park on Banks Peninsula, is finally complete. Community donations, a grant from Heritage New Zealand, the Parkinson Trust, and pro-bono expertise from our structural and civil engineers helped fund the repair of the cottage ¬– which collapsed during the 2011 Canterbury earthquake.

A formal opening event dedicated to those who helped restore the cottage was held at Orton Bradley Park on Sunday 13 May. About 150 people attended including volunteers, Heritage New Zealand delegates, councillors and Christchurch City Council Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

Ian Luxford – Orton Bradley Park’s Manager says he’s been blown away by the support they received.

“The generosity of the people who helped make it happen has been phenomenal. We had volunteers coming in every week, giving hundreds of hours of their time to bring this historic building back to life.”

The restoration used new and existing materials and included a seismic retrofit upgrade to strengthen and protect the cottage from future earthquakes.

Matt Cameron Technical Director – Structural Engineering says the challenge was to retain as much of the cottage’s original elements as possible.

“We replaced the collapsed stone rubble walls with reinforced concrete and used the original stones as veneer. Internally, some walls were still in-tact, so we covered them with a glass cabinet so visitors could still see the original construction.”

Ian says he’s thrilled with how well the cottage has been restored.

“When the completed work was finally revealed, my first reaction was ‘nothing’s changed!’ But that just shows how well we managed to preserve the original building. What has changed is the cottage is now permanently habitable and strengthened against future earthquakes. Everyone involved should be really proud.”

About Old Stone Cottage

Old Stone Cottage is a popular historic attraction for locals and visitors to Christchurch. Constructed by Samuel Manson in 1848, it originally served as a shepherding hut and is surrounded by other historic buildings including a dairy, stables, mill house and machinery shed.

Now reconstructed, it will serve as an information centre, park office and museum showcasing colonial life and local history.

For more information visit www.ortonbradley.nz/heritage.

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