‘Mind-boggling’ restoration task

Old-school education . . . The exterior of the historic Outram School building at the Taieri Historical Museum and Park. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Repairing and restoring an old former infant classroom at the Taieri Historical Museum and Park remains a major challenge, organisers say.

Located near Outram Glen, the museum and park area is operated by the Taieri Historical Society, a small group of local history enthusiasts.

Restoring the classroom, part of the former Outram School, was likely to cost more than $100,000, and was a “mind-boggling” prospect for a small society with modest means, society president Neil Gamble said.

“It would be the single biggest fund-raising that the society has ever been involved with in the 48 years [of its existence],” Mr Gamble said.

A restoration report on the school building and other parts of park complex had recently been completed by specialist historic architects Origin Consultants.

Charitable support had enabled the committee to spend the $14,000 required to have a full conservation report prepared.

That had been necessary in order for the project to qualify for further charitable funding support.

Parts of the roof and walls needed to be replaced, repainting was required, and doorways needed to be enlarged to provide access for people with wheelchairs, Mr Gamble said.

The tall walls, more than 7m high, were a big part of the overall challenge.

Mr Gamble said good progress had recently been made with the overall maintenance work at the museum and park complex, including with the old former Outram jail.

About $10,000 had recently been spent on the jail, including some roof repairs and overall repainting, which had been completed a fortnight ago.

The roof of the caretaker’s house would soon be replaced at a likely cost of $15,000.

And, within about a month, a concrete pad would be put down to help protect a tonne electric pump which once protected the West Taieri area from flooding, he said.

But looming over the other buildings and projects was the big challenge of restoring the former classroom, he said.