Cottage to be preserved as reminder of the past

Southern Heritage Trust member Ann Barsby and Peter Mason, a volunteer at the nearby Dunedin...
Southern Heritage Trust member Ann Barsby and Peter Mason, a volunteer at the nearby Dunedin Gasworks Museum, examine plans involving the worker's cottage behind them, which is near the museum. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Heritage campaigner Ann Barsby has ''gone out on a limb'' to save a rare 19th-century worker's cottage near the Dunedin Gasworks Museum but her action could come at a big personal cost.

''They think I'm mad,'' Mrs Barsby said about her friends' reaction to her decision to dip into her own pocket to pay about $14,000 to save the cottage.

The wooden building, probably built in the 1880s or 1890s, was originally constructed as an ''ordinary plain cottage'', in Braemar St, near the gasworks. However, about 1903 it was extended, with two bay windows added at the front.

Mrs Barsby is a founding member of the Southern Heritage Trust and is a member of the Dunedin Gasworks Museum board.

She said there had once been many such cottages in Braemar St, but this was the only one remaining.

Its new owner had kindly donated the building, which had to be relocated to avoid demolition.

The building would be moved to a site in a nearby street and it was eventually hoped to bring it back closer to the museum to provide a hub for interpretation of the social history linked with the museum, she said.

International industrial heritage authority Sir Neil Cossons, who is the museum's patron, said the Braemar St cottage was ''important'' and was now a rarity, reflecting what once had been dense housing in South Dunedin.

The cottage deserved a future, and he commended ''most warmly efforts to save this small and moving reminder of the city's past''.

Mrs Barsby had no doubts about the rightness of her actions in saving the cottage, but was somewhat concerned about having to face the financial cost alone.

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