Church building moves to new town

The former Lumsden Presbyterian Church is no longer in the town.

During the past two weeks, staff from King House Removals, of Invercargill, have been preparing the church to be moved to the corner of McDonnell Rd and State Highway 6 in Arrowtown.

On Monday the roof of the former church was trucked to its new home and yesterday the building left the town.

Yesterday morning King House co-owner Warren Willis said trucking the roof through to Arrowtown had gone without incident.

The only nuisance going through the portion of road known as the Devil’s Staircase was the road signs which the trailer had to be lifted over.

The trailer could extend 2.8m high.

The company had already taken about eight buildings through the staircase which was steep and contained sharp bends.

"We will do it with our eyes closed, we’ve been doing it that long."

The church was not the widest building the company had trucked through the staircase.

The former Waikaka Presbyterian Church had been about 1m wider.

It was not easy to shift older buildings in one piece as they had been built using different techniques to today’s.

"With a church there’s always challenges the way things are notched in and bolted in funny places."

He estimated it would take four and a-half hours to cover the 115km distance.

King House Removals co-owner Warren Willis drives the former Lumsden Presbyterian Church building...
King House Removals co-owner Warren Willis drives the former Lumsden Presbyterian Church building out of the town yesterday morning. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON
After the building arrived in Arrowtown it would be positioned on its site and foundations laid under it.

The building would then be lowered on to the foundations and the roof reattached.

This would take about two weeks to complete, Mr Willis said.

The process of moving the house was being filmed for the television programme Moving Houses.

Lumsden residents have been watching the removal of the church with interest.

Resident Michael Ellis said he was very impressed with the technology the removal staff had to use.

"It’s truly amazing what they can do," Mr Ellis said.

"To have something like that go on in this little town is fantastic."

He had seen several buildings pass through the town.

"I would say this would probably be the biggest building move I’ve seen," he said.

Church members’ decision to sell the 1891 building and cut down 14 Lawson cypresses planted about the same time to make way for its removal was not a popular one with some Lumsden residents.

The congregation planned to replace the building with a modern facility and it was hoped the building would start some time in the coming year.