DVD project committee members (from left) Brian Bayley, of
Speargrass Flat, Annette Thomson, Elaine Kirkland, Geoffrey
Thomson, Reta Thomson and Leslie Van Gelder, all of
Glenorchy, and David Beck, of Invercargill, proudly present
The Glenorchy Road: A Dream Come True in the township after
the public launch yesterday. Photo by James Beech.
A new appreciation for the feat of DIY New Zealand civil
engineering and the determination of a tiny community will be
gained by watching the new documentary The Glenorchy Road: A
Dream Come True
, which was launched to applause in the
Introduced by project committee members Geoffrey Thomson and
Leslie Van Gelder, about 80 residents settled down in the
Glenorchy Lodge for the premiere of the entertaining
hour-long documentary on DVD, which tells the tale of how the
highway came into being, against all odds.
The lifeline was prompted by the realisation the steamship
Earnslaw was not going to service Glenorchy forever, so Tommy
Thomson and Laurie Smith are credited for campaigning for the
construction of the road in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The modest unsung heroes who carved the original rugged
unsealed track from the village towards Queenstown are also
given their dues on camera.
Darrell's Bluff is named for road builder Darrell McGregor
who recalls how he used 17 cases of gelignite in one blast to
clear the road corridor.
Glenorchy residents gathered to watch the spectacle, only to
see an eruption of debris and beech trees so massive it
triggered a tidal wave which rocked the passing Earnslaw.
The documentary reveals how the self-reliant community raised
funds to pay for the road when money ran out. Raffle prizes
were won, then handed back so they could be raffled and won
The DVD costs $25 a copy for this weekend only, as part of
the 150th anniversary of settlement at the head of the lake.
The retail price increases to $30 afterwards.
All proceeds go towards the Glenorchy Heritage Group Inc.