The Burkes Pass Heritage Trust Newsletter

August 03



Working Bee and Meeting

A working bee will be held on Sunday the 28th September to plant the Rowan tree avenue as on the village plan and also extend the threshold plantings started last year.


A brief meeting for all to be held 9-10 am with work starting 10 am sharp. Bring anything useful to dig with like shovel, spade, bar or weeding tools


A Good Hat
There is a saying that cob cottages need ‘a good hat and a stout pair of shoes’, in other words something to keep the water out, top and bottom. The Anniss cottage was constructed a tailor made ‘hat’ over a period of 8 days in Easter week this year and doesn’t she look a picture now. A cunning idea evolved to build the roof supported on temporary poles with the aim of one day building up the walls to meet the roof! The Hemmingsen and Batchelor families with Tony Scott and  Maurie Angelo put in marathon effort to complete the job. Thanks also to Ivan Eason for loan of equipment and D Taylor, G Harris, G and A Hurst for contribution of materials.




Left: The new roof


Right: 3 generations of Anniss’s inspecting progress
Left to right; Brigid and Sally Feely and Noreen Liddy.




Thank you to….

·        The Southern Trust who have made a generous grant for fencing materials,

·        The Mid and South Canterbury Community Trust who have made possible the purchase of 3 year old Rowan trees to create the entrance avenue to the township and a contribution to costs of painting the church

·        The Mackenzie District Council for making a further contribution to planning costs.

·        Stephanie Cordes for auditing our annual accounts.

·        The Munro family who have given permission to plant one side of the Rowan avenue on their property.


Heritage Covenant
The Trust is very pleased to have the agreement of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in signing off a Heritage Covenant. This is now in the process of being registered on the title of St Patricks Church. This document gives the building the highest degree of protection available to a building in New Zealand and gives the Burkes Pass Heritage Trust a valuable supporter to enable us to look after it on its original site.


Fishing among the Foundations
An expedition armed with trowel, spade and rake to explore the hidden depths and great unknown  under the floorboards at St Patricks church revealed some intriguing finds. Sparked by a question of what did the original windows look like I was determined to find a shard of glass or evidence of them. Putting my best forensic training to work, there rapidly emerged an odd mitten, many fragments of  plain opaque window glass, offcuts of joinery and lumps of clay, some with whitewash traces on them. I was soon joined in the hunt by Helen and John Harry. John being a fisherman by profession soon brought forth some real treasure from under the porch; a coal shovel and ash rake, newspaper dated Feb 11th 1954 and pieces of wooden roofing shingles. Later, gold was struck in the form of a leadlight window nearly complete and almost buried under clods of clay. All plain opaque, colourless glass, it was likely to be a side window but a precious artifact none the less. Some thoughts

1) Was the church building in its infancy lined with clay plastered and whitewashed walls and later matchlined? A record in the old church minutes 1882 suggests that it was.

2) Did the porch roof have wooden shingles on it originally?

3) A photo of the windows suggests a coloured border to the front windows. Who might remember  what it was? We do know the leadlights were replaced with plain glass about 1959. Can anyone help?


Best Wishes to Jan McCarthy

It was with regret that the Trust received the resignation of Trustee Jan McCarthy at our last meeting . She has moved to Auckland with an exciting and challenging change in career path. While we are sad and pleased she has had this opportunity she assures us it will not be the last we will see of her and that her roots will bring her back at some stage.


Website address change

Yes the last web address was a curly one to use. The new one is much more user friendly while still being inexpensive.


Annual Subscriptions

A $5 donation will help the Trust to preserve and promote our history for the benefit of all. It will enable us to raise considerably larger sums from community funding organisations by demonstrating we have YOUR support. Please help us to do by returning the subscription slip enclosed.




Many thanks


Jane Batchelor    email:     03 3481531