Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust chairman Stewart Harvey is waiting on a conservation plan to show the next step forward in restoring the Dunedin Prison. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.
The Dunedin Prison is open for business again but is waiting
on a conservation plan before any renovations can proceed.
The Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust, which purchased the
prison in 2011, has started its season of public tours.
Trust chairman Stewart Harvey said the trust was currently
waiting for Sydney-based heritage consultants Chris
Betteridge and Margaret Betteridge to present the
consultation plan they had been contracted to do on the
The plan was expected at the end of the month.
''We really want to make the prison into a world-class unique
experience for tourists,'' Mr Harvey said.
There were plans to rent out parts of the building for
commercial use, as accommodation, or even use as a
backpackers, but Mr Harvey said this was all ''pie in the
sky'' until the conservation plan was done.
So far, the trust had re-glazed the prison windows to keep
out pigeons, Mr Harvey said. Efforts had also been made to
clean up pigeon droppings inside the prison and pigeons
inside the building had been trapped and destroyed.
The conservation plan would set out what else needed to be
done to the prison and how much it would cost.
In the meantime, Mr Harvey hoped to capitalise on tours,
especially with the cruise ship season approaching.
The tours were run by volunteers, two of whom had formerly
worked as guards in the old prison.
Mr Harvey believed it might be necessary to find more guides
if the demand for tours continued to increase.
Dunedin Prison is recognised internationally as a rare
example of a purpose-built Victorian courtyard prison. It
closed in 2007.
The Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust was formed in 2010 to
raise enough funds to restore the prison, converting it into
a major community asset, tourist attraction and educational
The trust is currently working to raise $2.6 million to
complete the refurbishment of the courtyard into an outdoor
dining and gathering space, establish world-class tour
experiences, and convert the warden's offices into office and
venue hire spaces.