Restoration project given boost

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Community Focus . . . (from left) Windmill committee members Jan Wards, Lisa Anderson, Gael Perry, Knapdale Run book committee members Nola Affleck, Rural Women New Zealand member Jeanette McIntyre, book committee members Noel Kelly, Merle Miller and David O’Hara. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

The Willowbank windmill and tank restoration project has gained a tailwind of support from The Knapdale Run book committee.

The committee made a donation of about $11,000 which was raised through the sale of the book The Knapdale Run, published in 1984.

The book, edited by Elizabeth Kerse, tells the history of Knapdale.

Committee treasurer Noel Kelly said they wanted to give the profits to a community initiative.

“At the meeting we held eight weeks ago we decided we wanted to give the money to a project within the Knapdale area and we thought the windmill and tank restoration was the perfect opportunity.”

The Willowbank windmill and tank was classed as a category 1 site in 2012 by Heritage New Zealand.

A category 1 status is given to places of special or outstanding significance or value.

“The windmill is one out of two railway windmills to survive on its original site in New Zealand, the other being in Nelson but it does not have a tank,” Mr Kelly said.

Willowbank windmill committee members said they were thrilled to receive the donations.

“We are absolutely over the moon and grateful to the community for all the support they have given us over the years.”

Rural Women New Zealand member Jeanette McIntyre said the cost for restoring the windmill and tank was about $200,000.

“We have not received many grants so we are thankful because every cent counts, but we will happily accept all donations.”