Former church auditoriums often come up for sale, due to dwindling congregations and rising costs, but we seldom see 19th-century schist stone churches on the market.
The beautiful St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church in Clyde was built in 1877 on the site of an earlier goldfields church (1863), which the congregation outgrew.
It was the focus for the local community for nearly 150 years till falling numbers made it uneconomic to run, and the Dunedin Anglican Diocese made the “pragmatic decision” to sell.
But, it’s not just the Category 2 Historic Place stone building that is of interest to potential buyers.
The original schist stone wall at the front of the property remains – it comes with a Category 1 heritage listing.
Cathy Wagstaff of LJ Hooker Alexandra says the church, which is opposite the war memorial and just up from the picturesque Earnscleugh Bridge across the Clutha River, is an “amazing icon of Clyde’s heritage”.
“Others have suggested it would be good if the church could be donated back to the community.”
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga has considerable detail about the site, including information about the opening of the first church, which was a relocated corrugated iron building that had served as a store at Manuherikia.
“During the week after the opening of the church a public tea meeting was held to raise funds, the large number of ladies attending caused surprise as it was considered that there were few women on the goldfields.
“Annan reports that the crowd was so large that the sumptuous feast had to be served in relays, as the building was quite inadequate. There were speeches, then music, then a humorous speech in prose and verse from Mr. Stratford, who also informed the people that the church would be free of debt in a few days.”
Heritage New Zealand notes the first load of stones for the new church arrived at the grounds in January 1877 at a cost of three shillings.
The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Selwyn, and the building completed within eight months. It was consecrated by the Dunedin Anglican Bishop Neville.
The listing also St Michael and All Angels has “aesthetic significance”.
“Its architectural style and materials combined with its park-like setting in large grounds with mature trees and surrounding stone walls, set at the edge of Clyde looking toward the Clutha River and the stark hills of the Old Man Range give it aesthetic significance.”
In addition to the church building there is a hall with kitchen and bathroom facilities on the 2580 square-metre corner site.
The property is being sold by tender, with tenders closing on January 21, 2021. It has an RV of $690,000.