Researcher and curator Angela English, of Dipton, visits a
gold prospector's hut, one of the features in the new
exhibition "Gold is Where You Find It: 150 Years of Gold in
Central Otago", due to open in the Lakes District Museum,
Arrowtown, on Friday. Photo by James Beech.
All that glisters in the new exhibition in the Lakes
District Museum really is gold.
"Gold is Where You Find It: 150 Years of Gold in Central
Otago" opens with a public launch in the museum in Arrowtown
on Friday after more than a year in the making, and at least
100 residents are expected to attend.
Researcher and curator Angela English, of Dipton, gave the
Queenstown Times a sneak preview on Friday of the
wealth of history and heritage to be unveiled in the
exhibition, a cornerstone of the gold anniversary
celebrations to come.
A total of 35 interpretation panels have been researched,
written and created to take visitors on an exploration of the
precious metal and the human endeavour to obtain it that
shaped Otago and New Zealand.
Gold miners, from early pioneers to their modern
counterparts, are identified and where, how and why they
arrived is explained.
Spotlights are shone on their health, hazards, the role of
women, the Chinese community and how townships sprang up
almost overnight, with differing fortunes.
Archive photographs have been enlarged to reveal new details,
such as the tam-o'-shanter and caps with candles tied on,
worn by rugged Bullendale miners in the 1880s.
A prospector's hut has been re-created and an audio clip by
Scotsman and friend of the museum Jim Rose, of Arrowtown,
uses historical testimonies to tell of the hard life and
times of pioneers in the 1860s.
A variety of objects, from a genuine Emmy Award presented to
Queenstown producer Julian Grimmond for The Amazing
Race to a gold tooth from a Wakatipu dentist, show how
gold has been used over time.
"This gold ring is from some of the first gold out of the
Arrow River and it belongs to William Butler and we have a
photo of Mrs Butler wearing the ring," Mrs English said.
Original paintings on loan from the Toitu Otago Settlers
Museum and the Southland Museum depict the frontier village
of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu in 1863, 1864 and 1868.
Arrowtown gold prospector, farmer and author Alan Hamilton
has been invited to speak at the opening of Gold is Where
You Find It in the museum on Friday at 7.30pm.
The launch will take place after the community gathers for
the unveiling of the 150th anniversary plaque on the Arrow
River near Ramshaw Lane at 7pm.