Contractors will carefully jack the two-storey wooden house up, lift it off its original native timber piles and lower it onto beams and rollers. It will then be rolled off and away from it foundations to a temporary location close by. Once the new piles are in place, the house will be shifted back to its original location.
The house is thought to have been built in the 1880s when the area – which was the mid-point on the journey between Wellington and Porirua – was known as The Halfway. It was a family home and may also have provided accommodation for those making the journey between the two towns.
The Council purchased the house and adjacent the land in 1951 to create Glenside Reserve. It has been vacant for about 15 years and will be gradually restored over the next three to five years in keeping with a conservation plan, as Council and NZ Lottery Grants Board funding is available.
Council Parks, Sport and Recreation Manager Paul Andrews says the local community was very keen to see the building retained and restored and the Council is working with the Glenside Progressive Association to find a viable, long-term use for it. The piling work, which will take about two weeks, is an important first step in its restoration.
"We have to replace all the piles and temporarily moving the house was the quickest and most cost-effective way to do it," he says. "Once the piling is finished, scaffolding will be erected so the rest of the external restoration work can be done."
This will include replacing rotten weatherboards and a new roof to ensure the house is watertight, reconstructing the floor using the original boards where possible, and installing a fire sprinkler system and two cast iron fireplaces.
When the floorboards were pulled up and stored late last year so the bearers, joists and piles could be inspected, archaeologist Mary O’Keefe got to work below the old kitchen and living areas.
There she unearthed a fantastic collection of bones, broken china and glass, toys and other household items that had fallen between the floorboards over the years or been dragged under the house by cats and rats. The collection has been documented, photographed and stored and some of the finds may eventually be displayed in the house.
22 October 2013: Time-lapse video showing the removal