Cossons to speak at museum conference

Neil Cossons.
Neil Cossons.
Sir Neil Cossons, the Dunedin Gasworks Museum patron and a British-based international authority on industrial heritage, will be a keynote speaker at a conference marking the 150th anniversary of the gasworks later this year.

Founded in 1863, the gasworks was the first of its kind in New Zealand and was once used to light all of Dunedin.

The gasworks was the last in the country to close, in 1987, and the subsequent gasworks museum had been internationally recognised as the ''best example of a town gasworks'', organisers said.

Southern Heritage Trust founder and conference convener Ann Barsby said the Gasworks150 Symposium was the first big national event to focus on the gasworks and was strongly supported by the heritage trust.

It is planned to hold the three-day event at the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, starting on October 3, and bringing together from throughout the country people with an interest in industrial heritage, including archaeologists, architects, archivists, historians, and local government leaders.

The gathering will focus on ''Heritage-Led Regeneration''.

The Gasworks Museum will host an associated two-day heritage festival, starting on October 5, which will include a celebration of dance, art and photographic exhibitions.

Mrs Barsby said the symposium and festival were a ''major leap'' forward for the museum, which offered ''world-class industrial heritage''.

After earlier frustrations and delays, the

reopening of the museum's restored ''Fitting Shop'' building in October 2011 had proved a positive turning point in efforts to develop the museum.

She hoped the museum would be further developed as a leading attraction among the city's heritage tourism assets.

About $2 million was needed to repair and restore some other buildings and structures on site and enable the museum to open to the public throughout the week.

Volunteers interested in helping with the two events are being sought, and more information is available on the internet at www.gasworks150.org.nz

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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