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A $15,000 donation from the Otago Community Trust to the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust will help preserve a historic building in Tyne St for decades, the civic trust’s operations manager says.

The donation will go towards a project, which is already under way, to replace the roof on the former T.H. Brown & Co Auction Mart building at 17 Tyne St.

Another two donations that total $20,000 – one from the John Westwood Christie Trust and another from the Stout Trust – have also been promised to the civic trust for the project.

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust operations manager Mark Smith said the donation from the community trust was welcomed and would be “put to good use”.

He said it meant the 1883 building, listed as category 2 with Heritage New Zealand, would be preserved for future use.

According to Heritage New Zealand, the building once housed the auction rooms of general merchant and commission agent T.H. Brown, who, along with James Hassell “the younger”, purchased the lease from John Lemon the year it was built.

In January 1884, Mr Brown filed for bankruptcy, followed by Mr Hassell a short time later.

Mr Brown left Oamaru and settled in the North Island, and the building’s lease was passed by mortgagee sale to John McLean in 1884.

Auctioneer Robert Blair took over the lease in 1895; in 1917, the property was leased by Oamaru commission agent John Familton; and Wright Stephenson and Co assumed the lease in 1919.

In the 1960s, the lease was held by MacEwans Machinery Ltd, and the Oamaru Operatic and Musical Society occupied the building in the 1980s.

The roofing project is one of several maintenance projects that have taken place in the Victorian Precinct in recent times.

The former Connell and Clowes building, the site of Presence on Harbour, had its roof replaced last year, while in the past 12 months, the new Harbour St Collective was refurbished.

The former Neills Brothers building is being restored and will house the Whitestone City Victorian-era themed attraction, which is scheduled to open in early May.

Extensive joinery work is planned for the Loan & Merc building.

* Other donations from the Otago Community Trust included $3000 to East Otago Musical Theatre to help present the musical Anything Goes and $1500 to the Waikouaiti Tennis Club to help buy a tennis ball machine, a generator and tennis balls.