Cardrona Heritage Trust committee member Tim Scurr and
Cardrona Vintage Fair co-ordinator Hil Stapper look over
some goldmining relics next to the old butcher's shop where
the original Cardrona township once stood, preparing for
the village's "150 Years of Gold" celebrations from
December 8. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Dressing up in 1800s attire is becoming quite a habit for
Cardrona Valley residents Hil Stapper and Tim Scurr, as they
immerse themselves in the promotion of next month's "150 Years
of Gold" celebrations in the valley.
In between posing for photo shoots in goldminers' garb, the
pair, along with almost every other valley resident, are flat
out putting together the two-day event on December 8 and 9.
"Everybody has got a job so there's no escape. It's quite
amazing how talents come together in this small village," Ms
Mr Scurr, a committee member of the Cardrona Heritage Trust
which is organising the weekend-long celebration, said it was
fantastic to see everybody supporting the event to ensure it
was a success.
"I think that's what it's all about. The people in the old
days, they worked in together a lot," he said.
Gold was discovered in the Cardrona Valley in 1862 and by the
following year, the area was home to more than 300 miners.
The total reached 1000 mainly Chinese residents by 1875.
"You might say Cardrona was the centre of the goldfields in
the Upper Clutha," he said.
The small village will be a hive of activity again on
Saturday December 8, with dog trials, gold-panning, a
re-enactment of a period school class, a farrier shoeing
horses, musterers and miners' horse races, displays and
entertainment in the village square, and other events.
The street will be closed at mid-afternoon for a town
procession, which will include a stage coach carrying
Queenstown Lakes District Council dignitaries and Cardrona
Valley entrepreneur and long-time resident John Lee -
"honorary mayor" for the day.
"He's done a lot for Cardrona, and the whole district ... we
wouldn't be viable if it hadn't been for him," Mr Scurr said.
A miner's ball/ceilidh will be held at the Lake Wanaka Centre
on Saturday night. It was hoped people would come dressed in
opulent 1800s finery and dance "till the cows come home", Ms
The long-running annual Cardrona Vintage Fair, co-ordinated
by Ms Stapper and Debbie Thompson, takes place on Sunday,
December 9 in the gardens of the Cardrona Hotel, featuring
stalls, entertainment and a Cardrona rabbit stew.
A book detailing life in Cardrona during the past 150 years -
written by Ray O'Callaghan and edited and designed by
Cardrona resident Carla Munro - will be launched during the