Ashburton on the Move book launch

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Author Michael Hanrahan is ready for the May 17 launch of his latest book, Ashburton on the Move.
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Author Michael Hanrahan knows a thing or two about 150 local schools, churches, museums, homes, public, commercial, and community buildings relocated in the Ashburton District over the past 150 years.

The history of moving these buildings have been detailed in his book, Ashburton on the Move.

It was written and compiled by Michael over the past two years.

Michael wrote the book because he was ‘‘interested in the topic, having read the book, Moving heavy loads around New Zealand.’’

Writing the book has involved many hours researching the history of the buildings and seeking out photos of them.

The 200-page book has more than 550 photos and maps, including several photos of buildings while they were being moved. It includes a section on the people who were involved in the move and the methods used.

‘‘Some of the stories of the moving of buildings are well-known like the flour mill or the convent.’’

From scout dens to supermarkets, from humble sheds to large villas – they can all be found in the book. Some travelled hundreds of miles; others just a few.

‘‘Some buildings have been moved more than once, like the whole of the Highbank power station village. It was wiped out in the 1940’s by a landslide, relocated to another site and in the 1980’s when the buildings were no longer needed they were moved from the area,’’ Michael said.

While many were relocated in the town of Ashburton, a large number were from rural districts. Some were relocated out of the district; others came into the district from elsewhere in the country.

The story of the oldest move in the book is a house from the 1870’s. The most recent move ‘‘is earlier this year with the moving of the shunter shed to Tinwald,’’ Michael said.

Author of Ashburton on the Move Michael Hanrahan.

From tiny buildings, to large ones, the book tells their stories and each story is illustrated with photos.

A well-known building moved was Bleak House which was taken to Timaru, before being loaded on a ship and transported to Auckland where it now sits looking out over the Tasman sea.

The photo on the front cover of the book is the former grandstand at the Ashburton Racecourse.

‘‘That was a difficult move as they had to move it sideways and length ways to make room for the building of a new grandstand before finally demolishing it,’’ Michael said.

Churches, homes, museums, scout dens and Longbeach House are just some of the chapters of the book.

Many more books could be written on the buildings moved in and out, and around the district like the houses relocated here post earthquakes.

The book has been published by the Ashburton Museum and Historical Society and proceeds from sales will go towards maintaining the Society’s collection at the Ashburton Museum.

The public are invited to the launch of Ashburton on the Move at the Ashburton Museum on May 17 at 5.30pm. People who would like to attend should RSVP to [email protected]

Copies can be ordered now by emailing – [email protected] or by contacting the society at PO Box 573 Ashburton 7740. The cost is $40 plus $9.50 for shipping.