Steampunk The Thames eyes former Placemakers building

James Baynton and Steampunk The Thames president Deb MacDonald Brown outside the Placemakers building in Queens St, Thames.
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

James Baynton and Steampunk The Thames president Deb MacDonald Brown outside the Placemakers building in Queens St, Thames.

The Steampunk the Thames committee has expressed interest in buying the old Placemakers building in Queen St, Thames.

Steampunk President Deb MacDonald Brown said the committee had already talked to the owner about purchasing the property but needed to raise funds. 

The asking price for the southern part of the historic site was $900,000.

The old Placemakers building on Queen St, Thames.
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

The old Placemakers building on Queen St, Thames.

There's already a brewery and artist occupying the Cochrane St end of the large site, and the Steampunk committee would like to buy the remainder of the property.

MacDonald Brown said they hoped to buy the building, then further funds would be needed to restore and outfit the building for a Steampunk creativity hub.

The committee would like to hold steampunk outdoor and indoor markets, industrial dance parties and workshops, host artists and set up a gallery and Steampunk shop on site.

The old Placemakers building in Queen St, Thames is the historic site of Judd's Foundry.
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

The old Placemakers building in Queen St, Thames is the historic site of Judd's Foundry.

The group had been gifted several steampunk art collections, which would be displayed in the building, she said.

Developing the site would also create employment opportunities in Thames, she said.

"We have wonderful ideas of what we can do, it's a huge industrial site. We do want to purchase it, it's a very significant building."

A steampunk train carries passengers in its carriage at the 2016 Steampunk the Thames parade.
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

A steampunk train carries passengers in its carriage at the 2016 Steampunk the Thames parade.

Judd's Foundry was established on the site in 1869, making goldmining and saw milling equipment.

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MacDonald Brown said the property's industrial history suited Steampunk's combination of the arts, science and technology.

"It's an industrial site, it's a heritage site and it's a site I believe we can create a future with different possibilities," she said.

Remote control cars are "punked" during the Steampunk Parade in Thames.
TERESA RAMSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Remote control cars are "punked" during the Steampunk Parade in Thames.

The committee has so far held two Steampunk Festivals in Thames, and support for Steampunk in the town was growing, she said.

"We've had more people step forward to help us. The possibilities are amazing really. What we want is for people to join us on this journey," she said.

"It's wonderful because [in 2017] we are going gold with the Thames 150 celebration and wouldn't it be cool if we had this building for that."

In 2017, a series of events will mark the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Thames Goldfields.

The steampunk committee planned to raise enough funds through fundraising and sponsorship for a deposit on the property.

MacDonald Brown said she intended to talk to the bank in the New Year.

"It's not something that's going to happen instantly and it's step by step, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be," she said.

For more information, visit their website: steampunkthethames.org.

 - Stuff

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