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Painstaking . . . Brackens Print and Signs owner/operator Paul Johnston finishes attaching the last of the vinyl silhouettes to the inside of the Oamaru RSA building in Itchen St. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

While Oamaru’s RSA building sits unusable, wartime images have been used to fill its windows.

Last month, four enlarged World War 1 photographs, found in the Waitaki Museum and Archive, were placed in the windows facing Itchen St.

The 1951 building has been empty for close to six years, since the North Otago RSA went into liquidation, vesting it to the council.

Leasing the land is absolutely prohibited, due to the Oamaru Town Hall and Gasworks Recreation Reserves Act 1875.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the council was still waiting for the legal status of the land that the building sat on to be sorted out.

‘‘Because of the old legislation it can’t be leased out, whether for money, or anything else. So, that whole process is taking a long time, and part of that’s just because our team’s very busy with a whole lot of projects that they’re delivering,’’ Mr Kircher said.

The images are part of an effort by Waitaki District Council to bring extra life to the town, using funding allocated to events that were subsequently cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The RSA building was among several Oamaru stone buildings in the town which had recently had their exteriors cleaned.

‘‘The idea was to get it cleaned it up and get these images into the windows, and it takes away the vacant building look and actually pays tribute to its original use.’’

The main images had been enlarged, printed on vinyl, mounted on corrugated plastic board and then placed in the larger part of each window.

Along the top of each window, adhesive vinyl silhouettes of a war scene had been plotter cut and attached to the glass.

‘‘Which wasn’t easy, because it’s really bubbly glass, but they look really good,’’ Mr Kircher said.

‘‘It’s one of the things that took a bit longer to do, because they had to get the air out of every little single pocket of glass.’’

The work was carried by Bracken’s Print and Signs.

The enlarged photographs included one of three soldiers who were believed to be local, given by the Grenfell family, one of the 10th North Otago Regiment heading off to World War 1 on August 17, 1914, and two of a peace parade held on Thames St, in July 1919.

Once the new use for the building had been decided, Mr Kircher said it was hoped the images could be used elsewhere.