'Beautiful' Arrowtown building restored to former glory

The fresh-faced Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown. Photo: Mountain Scene
The fresh-faced Lakes District Museum in Arrowtown. Photo: Mountain Scene
Emerging from a cocoon of scaffolding and tarps is a newly-strengthened and restored version of the former Bank of New Zealand building at Arrowtown’s Lakes District Museum.

The old bank building has been reinstated with its parapet and six chimneys, marking a return to its original architecture from 1875.

Museum director David Clarke says the unveiling is the next stage of the $3.5 million project that involves earthquake-strengthening, restoration and construction of new displays.

Designed by the notable Robert Lawson, the building was very decorative for what was a small goldfields town, Clarke says.

‘‘The parapets and chimneys were taken down around 1953 when the museum took  over the building.

‘‘Leaking gutters and earthquake concerns meant a heavy-looking hipped roof replaced the ornateness.’’

Clarke wanted to return the ‘‘beautiful building’’ to its former glory and thanks the many tradespeople who made the restoration possible.

‘‘It looks magnificent and complements the recently-restored Fork and Tap building across the road.’’

Next up for the project is waterproofing the outside walls below ground, and while construction delays have pushed the project back by five months, a grand reopening is on the cards for later in the year.

 - Lucy Wormald

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