A monumental mission to save a piece of Dunedin history is
The two-year project to restore the 149-year-old Cargill's
Monument in the Exchange should be completed within weeks.
''It's been a slow process,'' Dunedin stonemason Marcus
Wainwright said yesterday.
''The original work was done to a high standard. The
stonemasons were at the top of Gothic carving. One of the
interesting things about the monument is it would have been
completed as a kitset in Melbourne and made to stack and hold
''But, these structures get old and, if no-one looks after
them, they fail. There are some nice keystones inside it that
would hold it in place for centuries in Europe, but not in an
Thirty parts of the monument, including gargoyles,
grotesques, finials and crockets, had to be replaced.
''I've seen an 1890s photo of it during a parade and there
were people climbing all over it. It has suffered a bit of
damage over the years because of things like that,'' Mr
The 15m Gothic revival spire was designed by provincial
engineer Charles Swyer as a dedication to Otago's first
superintendent, Captain William Cargill, and installed in the
Octagon in 1864. It was moved to the Exchange in 1872.
Earthquake-proofing stabilisation work on the monument began
in November, 2011, and was originally expected to be
completed by last year.
However, the project had proved ''complicated'', Mr
Wainwright said, involving drilling to fit a 170mm diameter
pole in the centre and inserting steel rods, plates and
anchors, before the restoration of the finials and
''We couldn't put the steel on the outside, so it had to be
hidden. Depending on the weather, it should all be done by
the end of the month.''
The project was on target to be completed within its $380,000
budget, Dunedin City Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said