Burkes Pass Heritage Trust News – September 2002





Yet another six months has passed…and considerable progress continues to be made.


Village enhancement

 At a public meeting on May 5, and after consulting the wider community and display of the plans, urban planner Graham Densem presented ideas to make Burkes Pass a safer, more interesting, and pleasant place. Enthusiastic discussion meant the plan for the church grounds did not get an airing on this occasion.


Some of Graham’s ideas included emphasising our relationship with the past, ensuring the work was in keeping with the Heritage Walkway, the mature trees in the landscape, and the colour schemes of buildings that echo the era of the 1900s. Other suggestions included retaining the established trees and additional tree planting to provide shelter from extreme weather conditions; planting thresholds at the 80 km/h signs to signal the entrance/exit to the village and help slow traffic; and to level some of the grassed areas beside the highway. Feelings ran high on several subjects: the 80 km/h signs being a great asset but a perception of  the cemetery end being too close to the village; the need for public toilets; and what to do with the ditch outside the cafe and pool area.


Some inspirational ideas emerged such as recreating Cabbage Tree Flat, a Rowan Tree avenue, and a plea to provide the village with a social centre, lost when the historic hotel was razed by fire in 1994. Another was to create round-trip walkways.


Work is progressing, finance is being sought, and negotiations have started  with Transit and others to make it all happen.


A WORKING BEE; will be held on Sunday the 27th Oct to get some planting started. Bring a spade/grubber/bar if you have one, meet at Alma Cottage 10  am. Please contact me if interested in helping or just come.


Historic endeavours

Were you married /christened at Burkes Pass Church or know someone who was?  The Trust is looking for photos taken at such celebrations. Work is underway on producing information panels about Burkes Pass and St Patrick’s Church that will be erected inside the church. Interpretation consultant, Lynda Burns, is undertaking an overview of this work. Some precious old photos of events held at the church have been located, including some taken at the centenary thanks to Prue Clark, but does anyone know of others?


Children’s activities are viewed as an important part of this work, with plans in the pipeline to create an appropriate photograph album/activity book to be placed in the church. It is hoped to display this on an original old children’s school desk/seat, and that the display include an old school slate. Does anyone know where either of these items may be found? Or better still, an old Burkes Pass school desk?


The heritage covenant and conservation plan for the church has also been started. A big thank-you to Bill Burgess who has sent the Trust copies of the original transfer documents for the land on which the church was built, the land being donated in 1871 by John Burgess. This is important archive material for the preservation of the village’s history.


Also thanks to Jan McCarthy who has made and presented the Trust with a leather hand-bound photograph album in which we can display our photograph collection.


Say a prayer

Work has been completed on staining and polishing the four new pews – authentic replicas of the original four – and now with the staining done it is difficult to tell which are the old and which are the new pews!


Celebration time – come on!

St Patrick’s celebrated its 130th birthday in August and to commemorate, the trust is hosting a 130-year celebration service on Sunday, November 3, at 11am. Reverend Peter Hurricks, who will be a familiar name to many in the district, has accepted an invitation to return to St Patrick’s and officiate on this special occasion. It is an important monument for the small wooden church and I hope you will all mark your calendar now and join us on the day. It will be a celebration of both the church and the work being done to preserve this important history. Light refreshments will be served afterwards at Alma Cottage. It would be appreciated if you could bring a plate.



                                                   Anniss Cob Ruin - to have a new roof

The  walls of this cottage which have remained steadfast after 90 years without a roof are testimony to this building's construction. The necessary funds have recently been pledged to allow this building to take on a new lease of life and weather another 90 years. Anyone who can shed any light on its original form or is aware of where an old photograph may be found please contact me and we would be incredibly grateful.

Letters of intent

In recent weeks, much time has been spent collating information and filling in applications for funding. Considerable funds are still required to complete the projects outlined above that will secure Burkes Pass's rightful place in history as the village that opened up the Mackenzie Country up for pastoral development.


Priority work has been identified as completing the heritage walkway, giving tourists a reason to linger longer, and the threshold plantings.


Community spirit

The Tekapo Lions Club has generously offered to assist with labour in construction of the boardwalks necessary to establish the heritage walkway. We are delighted that they can share their expertise in this way. When finance is confirmed for purchase of materials, we will be canvassing other talent to help with the working bee.


Light the way

A heartfelt thanks to Meridian Energy, which has generously flicked the switch on at St Patrick’s Church.  They have given a grant to cover the reconnection and cost of an electricity supply to the church. Hopefully we will be seeing the light by November 3.



If you haven’t already, check out the web site http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~batchg/burkespass/index.htm

The pages are continually being added to and new links established with other sites. A list of projects and there status are also on it. If you are having trouble hooking in please contact Graham Batchelor gbatch@ihug.co.nz


Membership drive

Membership of the Trust is open to all and new members are always welcome. Contact Margaret Walter at Dobson Lodge phone: 03 685-8316, or myself on phone 03 348-1531 email: jbatch@ihug.co.nz , or any of the trustees. In lieu of subscriptions please consider a donation to help the projects, a tax deductible receipt will be issued for amounts $5 and over.


Grave diggings

Liz Angelo-Roxborough is still digging around for information on those buried in the Burkes Pass Cemetery. She plans to write a guide to the cemetery that records the lives of those who rest in the place.  If anyone has family or friends buried at Burkes Pass, Liz would love to make contact with you. Either email angelo2@ihug.co.nz or write to Liz at The Stone House, Burkes Pass, RD 17, Fairlie. Thanks to those who have already sent contributions.

Best wishes


Jane Batchelor (chairperson)

Alma Cottage

Burkes Pass

Postal Address: 41 Kirkwood Avenue, Christchurch 8004

Phone: 03 348-1531 (home), 03 355-8283 (work), Fax 03 3558289

Email: jbatch@ihug.co.nz



Trustees:               Liz Angelo-Roxborough                     Jan McCarthy                      

                                03 685 8171                                                            03 322-5171                           

                                Email: angelo2@ihug.co.nz                Email: janmccarthy@clear.net.nz


                                David Reynolds                                   David Taylor

                                03 329 6625                                            03685 8544

                                Email: d.reynolds@actrix.gen.nz        Email: 3creeks@actrix.gen.nz