Makara’s Monk Cottage renovations in full swing

Makara’s Monk Cottage renovations in full swing

George Welch entering his great grandmothers home, Monk Cottage. PHOTO BY: LAURA SMITH

The dilapidated cottage nestled next to St Patrick’s church in Makara is being given a new lease on life by local residents determined to make the cottage presentable again.

The cottage was built in around 1874 by George Monk and Ruth Robinson and in the years since it has fallen into disrepair.

Their great-grandson, George Welch, along with local Makara residents have been slowly renovating the cottage to be an historical monument to the areas’ past.

“It’s the history of the district, and it shouldn’t really be let go. I’m just thinking of the interest of the young people that’s all,” Welch said.

The project started in 2016  with working bees  mostly once a month. Many of the settler’s descendants still live in Makara and some helped with the rebuild.

Most recently, the volunteers replaced the verandah roof and put new flooring in two of the downstairs rooms.

They also built a picket fence around the neighbouring hall and church as repayment for the monetary support they had been given.

The project was like having, “a tiger by the tail,” Welch said, with job after job making it difficult to know where to start.

Welch said they were trying to copy how the house would have been built 150 years ago, which meant sourcing out materials such as native wood making the job would be expensive as well as time-consuming.

At the end of last year a “Give A Little page” was set up, with $7000 being raised.

“I was blown away,” Welch said.

His daughter Mandy runs the Facebook site for the restoration and updates after every working bee.

“What a fantastic working bee today. Thank you to all those who gave their precious time and shared their talent with the community.

“Thanks to those that supplied the food and drinks, your contribution added wonderfully to the day. So proud to be part of the Makara community,” Mandy posted.


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