Many thanks to Bill Cowan and the Tuapeka Mouth community who came together to host a field trip of 27 Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust Members. The day started with a wonderful morning tea in the hall thanks to Elma Thompson and the local ladies, and a great display of local history very nicely presented around the walls. The pump in action further up the Tuapeka

Then it was out for a walk in the BEAUTIFUL sunshine (earlier reports were for steady rain so the good weather was a well received bonus) along the picturesque banks of the Tuapeka River to have a look at the ‘James Liffel horizontal turbine’ – 200 hp made in the USA about 1906 lifted water from the Tuapeka up to the mining area around where the township is. Thanks very much to Geoff Thompson, the local land owner, who not only had to clear away some rather large willow branches that came down the day before but also cut a hole in his deer fence to allow us access!

Bill Cowan explains the finer details of the pump  There was also a fine horizontal  mine – come sludge tunnel to inspect and as an added bonus they had arranged a miner showing us the old and the new ways of prospecting!

Twas such a lovely day we wandered on down to the confluence of the Tuapeka and the Clutha the site of the wharf where the old paddle steamers used to come up the Clutha to. Also the area of a significant timber mill in those early days.

The old and the new...

After a picnic lunch in the Hall, further reading of the local histories and a visit to the old School building (with many old photos and displays) it was off up the road to the cemetery where we were met by octogenarian Chris Skinner to tell us a few stories.

The 'new' Tuapeka Dam

The weather was holding fine so we carried on up to an old dam – a ‘good, honest’ hill climb was involved but well worth the effort.

The Tuapeka Mouth part of the day finished with a punt ride over the Clutha then a drive down to Balclutha for dinner at the Rose Bank Lodge and a wonderful presentation by Gary Ross (from the South Otago Museum) all about Port Molyneux – setting us up for the next day.

Sunday dawned bright and clear once again for a 9am start at the South Otago Museum to see some relics from ships wrecked around the Molyneux Bay area.  Then it was a drive out to Port MolyneSearching amongst the willows for reminents of the old warf at Port molyneuxux itself and some wonderfulKaka Point beach Devonshire Tea thanks very much to Katy Button (local land owner) before heading down to the site of the original port now in the middle of grazing and wetland countryside. A bit of trudging arround amongst the willows did indeed present us with some posts still with bolts attached that are the pillars of the old wharf!

The Port Molyneux cemetery was next on the list then into Kaka point to see the original Port Molyneux Church which had been relocated to Kaka Point but is on its way back to its original location! A casual lunch at ‘The Point Cafe’ rounded the weekend off nicely. Thanks very much to all those who came along and to all those who help make it such a fun and interesting weekend!

Click here for the minutes. Here for the presidents report.

The OGHT had its AGM in their Cromwell office (the historic old Methodist Church) on Saturday the 23rd with 40 members in attendance. The meeting proceeded in orderly fashion with an overwhelmingly positive ‘vibe’ from the attendee’s. We have been busy in the last 12 months (see presidents report attached).Cromwell's Catholic Church

Morning tea and lunch was provided by the Cromwell Girl Guides club to much positive affirmations and then the group proceeded on their afternoon tour of some of the older buildings in the ‘older part of town’. 4 historic churches in one block, 2 old cottages in various states of repair Imageand the original court house were all visited each with their own unique speaker.Old Cromwell Court House

The group then headed down to Old Cromwell Town Precinct for the planting of a commemorative tree. ImageA Golden Totara was very kindly donated by Cromwell Garden Land and all were in agreement that the ‘Podocarpus Totara `Aurea` was an appropriate tree considering the Totara was the dominant tree of this area (up until about 400 years ago) and having a ‘golden’ tinge for the Gold150 celebratory year. Visible in the attached photo are from left to right:

A quick jaunt was then taken out near to the Kawarau Mining Centre where a new section of walking track has been completed beside the river and impressive herringbone tailings can been seen. Unfortunately heavy rain meant this side trip had to be cut short.

Dinner that night was at the Victoria Hotel (Old Cromwell Town again) with guest speaker Fraser Jonker the new CEO of Pioneer Generation. Tis an interesting relationship between Pioneer and the Goldfields Trust – some of the Pioneer assets are rooted back to gold mining infrastructure. The power generator is 100% owned by the Central Lakes Trust who are funding nearly all the ‘Gold150’ celebrations this year around our area as well as most of the other subsequent OGHT projects. Yet we (the OGHT) has still submitted against Pioneer in some of their plans… the Nevis for example. Anyway Fraser gave a great talk and was well received by the dinner goers. Dinner was very good also. Big thanks to the crew at the Vic for a wonderful evening.

Sunday morning’s tour ‘A new look at Old Bannockburn’ lead by local Gordon Stewart Gordon Stewart of the Clan 'Stewart'!was a highlight for many. After parking by the Bannockburn Bridge and scrambling around the lake side the group were treated to Oatcakes and Whiskey served by a kilt wearing Stewart who not only regaled about his families links to the hotel ruins about their feet Imagebut also the history of the Battle of Bannockburn and even further into the geology of the near surrounds. After a walk around the inlet and up the track, over the knob and back to the cars it was into the Bannockburn pub for an absolutely scrumptious spread of soup and savouries followed by coffee and cake. Thanks very much to Tim, Bronwyn and the team at the ‘Bannie’.

A great weekend was had by a hardy few who embraced winter in Lawrence for our AGM and Field Weekend.

Comments were made about why such a programme was proposed for such an inhospitable time of year and though such excuses as ‘necessity’ and ‘waiting for the auditors to get finished with the accounts…’ were muted the real reason was that Terry just wanted you all to appreciate what the miners had to put up with!

Having said that we were very lucky with the weather and we didn’t have to sit in a drafty old calico tent for the duration of the meeting with only Dampa and boiled mutton for lunch.

No! The Lawrence Golf Club rooms were perfectly suited for our purposes and some kind soul had turned the heaters on well before we arrived. The lovely ladies of St. Patricks Women’s Fellowship supplied us with a sumptuous morning tea and the AGM went smoothly with all current committee members being re-elected plus the addition of Steve Clark from Bannockburn. For full minutes of the AGM please click here.

The AGM was immediately followed by a hearty lunch thanks to the same ladies mentioned above then Jim Ng gave us a talk and slide presentation about the old China Town of  Lawrence. Jim is a great speaker delivering well researched facts with his own theories and views on how things ‘probably were’. We then went down to the site of the old Chinese settlement and had a look around – apart from the two very well preserved buildings you could clearly make out where the main street used to be and some house sections adjacent to it.

From here we drove in convoy to Gabriel’s Gully to meet up with Ernie McCraw – local historian and recently published author about Gabriel Reid. Earnie took us on a very interesting walk around the recently up-graded DOC track that circumnavigates the ‘head’ of Gabriel’s Gully. Old explosives magazines, slag channels, water races, batteries, mines and shafts were all re-discovered as the day got progressively warmer and brighter! (Completely opposite to what the weather-man predicted.)

From Gabriel’s Gully we took a short detour up to the final site (it had two previous ones) of Blue Spur township for a bit of ‘heritage prospecting’.

While all this was going on a small sub group of slightly less energetic members were given a tour of the local ‘Tuapeka Vintage Club’ and then onto the Lawrence Museum – apparently all very well received.

After, just long enough to make ourselves presentable for dinner, we converged again upon the  golf club rooms for a truly memorable dining experience thanks to the good folk at ‘The Wild Walnut’ cafe (and catering).  The wonderfully accommodating hospitality of all those we came in contact with in Lawrence (including our accommodation providers) was without reproach.

Sunday morning dawned bright and calm again snubbing the weather mans dire predictions. After a generous breakfast for all at the Campground we filled up cars and drove to the Canton Battery near Lake Mahinerangi to meet Dave Still for our morning’s entertainments. And how entertaining it was!! When Dave pointed out to Terry over the phone that folk would get their trousers wet walking through the tussocks Terry imagined the bottom of one’s trousers just above the top of your hiking boots –but no! These were ‘un browsed’ tussocks in the Otago Provincial Quartz Mining Co scenic reserve and not only would have your trousers got wet but all of your shirt and possibly your hat too!! Very fortunately for us the tussocks were dry but there were still many wet obstacles to be negotiated before we got to our destination at an old water wheel slowly sinking into the bog. As most of us waded back through the snow tussock we were met with good hearted banter from another group who took the seemingly ‘easier’ option of skirting around an old water race where they could look down on our position. On returning to our vehicles they tried to assert that they, in fact, had the more perilous of the route options because they also had Prickly Spaniards to contend with (oh, and after 100years or so apparently parts of the water race had eroded away making for very steep traversing).

After a  look at the ‘slowly falling over’ Canton Battery we made our way back up the road pausing a couple of times to look at features in gullies that Dave could relate to his excellent volumes of old photos on the area.

The morning came to a ‘sooner than expected’ conclusion due to the onset of foul weather threatening. We did have time for a look around the old Waipori cemetery (our first recorded casualty at Gallipoli came from Waipori) and huddled behind vehicles for lunch, to peruse the photo albums and to add our collective bits of knowledge to Dave’s database on the families who lived in the Waipori area.

Thanks very much to our generous guides  Jim Ng,  Ernie McCraw and Dave Still. Thanks also to the many folk of Lawrence who made us very welcome and thanks to the members who came along.

All the best.

Terry Davis

Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust

Cavalcade and Events (like AGM’s and field weekends) coordinator.

Click below to download a pdf of the following information.

AGM Agenda

2011 AGM minutes.

Balance Sheet

Notes to Balance sheet

OGHT profit and loss

Cavalcade profit an loss

Minutes from 2010 AGM

Presidents Report 2011

Here’s the plan-

(click here for registration form)

We will all meet at the Commercial Hotel in Roxburgh by 10am Saturday where there will be instant coffee, tea and scones for us while John Kerr tells us all about the history of his Hotel and the basics of Roxburgh.

We will then all pile back into our cars (ride sharing if people want to) and travel in convoy out to lake Onslow via Pinder’s Pond and various points around the water races and dams of the Teviot Power Scheme. David Hamilton who has done extensive research on the area will be our interpreter at the various stops. Some of these stops will include short walks to points/relics of interest around tussock and rock country over old water races or sheep tracks so bring your good walking boots and sticks. At some stage we will have a picnic lunch in the hills.

You will then have time to drop off your things and get ready for dinner at your chosen accommodation before we all drive 8mins to Lake Roxburgh Lodge for a wonderful buffet meal.

On Sunday morning breakfast will be served for everybody in the main hall of the Teviot Motels before we walk over the road and down the track to Stu Edgecombe’s mining area. There are various interesting sites, relics and stories that Stu will show us around – you will have time for a quick pan for gold if you are keen ($10 extra per person for gold panning).

Then we will be back in convoy out to Gorge Creek (20mins) to meet Ed Dwyer at 11am who’ll give us a very interesting introduction to the historic trails leading over the Old Man Range and show us a couple of historic shelters/huts (about 30mins walking).

Finally we will acquaint ourselves with the new proprietors of the Shingle Creek Tavern for soup and sandwiches before heading off to our respective homes.

$88 per person It is our intention to make this a fun couple of days where we re-discover some interesting historical places and socialise as a group over meal times…

We understand that we have lots of members local to the Roxburgh area and you may prefer to pop home for dinner or join us after breakfast on the Sunday. Therefore we have these extra options:

Dont want dinner at Lake Roxburgh Lodge? Take $30 off

Don’t need breakfast at the Teviot motels? Take $10 off

Don’t want lunch at Shingle Creek? Take $13 off

Please note: Fee includes a small ‘admin’ fee that goes towards things like paying for meals and petrol vouchers for tour guides/guest speakers.

You will need to bring your own packed lunch and snacks for Saturdays wanderings or you could purchase a packed lunch from the Commercial Hotel for $12 (please add to total).

If you are not currently a member you may wish to renew your membership with this transaction (please add $40 for a single or $65 for a family membership.)

Please include a cheque with the above form filled out and post back to us by Oct 1st. Download a registration form from here or give Terry a ring  (03 4450 111) and he’ll post you one out.


PO Box 91


Due to the nature of this trip numbers will be limited to 40 people max.

The above itinerary is weather dependant and subject to change.


I understand I must pay for my accommodation separately in addition to the above fee.

Lake Roxburgh Lodge (evenings dinner provider). Are you interested in staying in a 4 Star+ rated lodge for $60 per person? If we get enough interest we can book the whole place and stay quite reasonably – if you book individually it would cost between $150-$190 per room! Please let me know before 18th September so I can get back to them. 03 4468220

Teviot Motels (Sunday mornings breakfast venue) Around $25 per person, motor homes welcome. 03446 8364

The Commercial Hotel and Backpackers (03) 4468160 $30 per person.

Things have been all go here at the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust. New signage erected in the Lindis Pass to show the area of the first gold found in Otago, a stone wall repaired by the Come-in –Time Battery in Thompsons gorge, and new Pinders Pond interpretation panels are complete and will be erected in time for our next field weekend on the 16th/17th October.

We had a good AGM in Alex back in June:

  • long time Trail Boss and committee member Don Morrison was elevated to Honorary life member status
  • Excellent written works were presented to the Trust from Valmai Beeby ‘The Mareburn Reefs’ (prepared by her late husband Richard Beeby) and from Ed Dwyer ‘Historic Shelter Sheds and Route Guides on the Old Man Range’
  • All current committee members were re-elected. They are Martin Anderson (president), Nola Gollop (treasurer) and committee members Bruce McMillan, Mike Floate, Kay Adam, Dave Neill, Don Morrison, John Cook.

The AGM was followed by a very interesting bus tour around some historic pubs over-nighting in Naseby with a bit of Curling.

Next Field Weekend 16th and 17th October

Fancy a weekend in Roxburgh? On the Saturday we meet at the Commercial Hotel for tea and scones before heading out with David Hamilton to explore the dams and water races associated with the Teviot Power Scheme (one of the original power schemes in Otago forged from the water reservoirs and races originally set up for gold mining). On the Sunday morning we will be having a tour of the old (and not-so-old) diggings and information at Stu Edgecumbe’s mining area followed by a guided tour of a couple of Gorge Creek points of interest by local historian Ed Dwyer before lunch at the Shingle Creek Tavern… Fantastic scenery,  knowledgeable interpreters and good camaraderie to be had walking in the hills and sharing dinner/breakfast together… click here to down-load a registration form .

Cavalcade up-date

We are in the middle of a review of our safety plan – it’s all common sense, nothing to concern yourselves with but there will be a mention about kicking horses – something like “If you have a horse who goes out of its way to kick another horse or person it is not welcome on the Cavalcade – leave it at home or be prepared to get kicked off the trail.”

We are feeling pretty bad about the leather badges that stained some of your shirts from Wanaka. Unfortunately the outfit that made them and sewed them on has gone bust so there won’t be a lot of compensation from them! To get a handle on the size of the situation we are asking those who are unable to wear their shirt to mail it to us. I would just like to reiterate that this was not a Swanndri problem  – their shirts are awesome and we can all get 20% off all their gear just by going to their website and entering the promo code ‘cavalcade’.

Dates for 2011 are confirmed as 26th Feb to 5th March (some trails are starting later but we all finish together on the 5th.) see here for the previous newsletter with trail start points in it.
For those of you who aren’t already, It is recommended you become a member of the Goldfields Trust to increase your chances of securing your trail of choice. Trust members get priority when the registration forms are coming back in and a trail is getting full. This year nearly all the trails reached their capacity. Click here to renew membership.
Thanks very much for your support. I hope to see some of you in Roxburgh next month and many of you in Oamaru next year!

Terry Davis

Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust

03 445 0111

021 284 6844

PS, if you’re talking with your mates who you believe should be getting these newsletters also can you please check they are receiving them. If not get them to contact me and I’ll update our database. Good on ya

Restoration work was carried out on the stone retaining wall at the  Come in Time Battery (Thompson’s Gorge) late last week. This was another collaboration between DOC and the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust. More of a story to come but here’s some photos in the meantime.

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