Adamshurst wins art gallery staircase for free

The grand century-old staircase is waiting to be shifted to Adamshurst. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

The grand century-old staircase is waiting to be shifted to Adamshurst. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

IT might not be a stairway to heaven, but it will be owned by a priest.

The splendid old cedar staircase removed from the Albury Art Gallery will find a new home at Adamshurst free of charge.

City staff have confirmed it will stay in the city after Adamshurst owner Archdeacon Peter MacLeod-Miller was the sole bidder when it was offered in an expressions of interest process.

Noted Sydney architect Gordon McKinnon designed both the town hall building and a major new wing for Adamshurst in the early 1900s.

City director James Jenkins said Father MacLeod-Miller’s submission met the “essential and desirable” criteria for removing the staircase from the heritage-listed building.

“The essential criteria was it was going to be re-used in an architectural use and it was a recognisable feature within the context of a new environment,” Mr Jenkins said.

“The desirable criteria was it remained in the council area and could be accepted immediately.”

Mr Jenkins confirmed no money changed hands in the deal with the council’s asset disposal policy enabling an item to be gifted if valued at under $150,000.

“It is a good result for Albury,” he said.

“The submission we received didn’t offer any money for the staircase.

“Given the work required to transport, store and re-assemble in some form, it wasn’t part of the key assessment criteria.”

The dismantled staircase remains in the gallery but will be relocated in coming weeks.

In early March, Father MacLeod-Miller revealed his wish to acquire the staircase after learning it wouldn’t be re-used in the $10.5 million redevelopment as it didn’t meet building standards.

But he was told by the council a transparent public disposal process had to be held.

The staircase will provide access to upstairs rooms at Adamshurst which will eventually become Father MacLeod-Miller’s permanent home.

He was delighted the staircase could remain part of Albury’s history.

“I’ve already got a spot picked out,” he said.

“It will be used as a staircase and won’t be ornamental — it is great it will be used rather than locked away.”

Meanwhile, Mr Jenkins said the council was negotiating with Mitta Valley Historical Society about moving the Australia Park waterwheel to Eskdale. Towong Council is involved and hasn’t made any financial commitment to date.

“They are working through some issues in terms of how they were going to structure the wheel,” Mr Jenkins said.