Minniesdale Chapel, the tiny church built by English settlers known as Albertlanders at Wharehine in the 1860s, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this month.
To mark the occasion, the chapel and cemetery in Shegadeen Road are receiving a major upgrade, with a new concrete path, new water tank and plumbing, general renovations and an overall spruce up.
Much of the work has been done by Wellsford Lions Club, which chose to help Minniesdale as its ‘centennial project’ – a specific local cause to mark Lions’ global 100th anniversary this year.
Member Roger Farr says it has been great to be able to help Minniesdale, especially putting in the new grey concrete and white shell path from the roadside down to the chapel entrance, since the previous grass path was steep and very slippery when wet.
Meanwhile, chapel trustees and supporters have been painting fences and gates, tidying up the cemetery and grounds, and making sure the original dark wood panelled walls, ceiling, polished floors and pews are at their best.
The 150th anniversary will be celebrated with a special service on Sunday, December 31 – the nearest
Sunday to the chapel’s original opening date of December 29. The service will be led by descendants of the Brookes family, the settlers who donated the land and brought wood and stained glass windows from England to build Minniesdale in 1867.
After the service, afternoon tea will be served at Wharehine Hall in Pah Hill Road.
Chapel trustees say the anniversary is a time to reflect, and they hope visitors will spend time to tour the cemetery to see historic pioneer family graves, or sit and view the Oruawharo River flowing into the Kaipara Harbour.
Info: minniesdale.com or at Minniesdale on Facebook.