The 136-year-old Arrowtown Jail and the 126-year-old
Bullendale dynamo are the first projects selected by the
Wakatipu Heritage Trust for an estimated $180,000 worth of
Chairwoman Susan Stevens, of Gibbston, yesterday said the
gold mining-era jail in its urban location was a good match
with the technological breakthrough represented by the dynamo
in its remote setting.
In use by police until 1987, the Arrowtown Jail was built for
£500 in 1876. The jail, containing five cells, can be visited
by borrowing the key from the Lakes District Museum.
The Historic Places Trust registered the jail as category one
in 1983 and said it was "unique in New Zealand".
Museum director and trustee David Clarke, of Arrowtown,
yesterday said the plastered schist Georgian building was
suffering from rising damp, plaster cracks, rotting timbers
and inadequate drainage.
The Bullendale gold mine above Skippers Canyon was the site
of the first industrial use of electricity in New Zealand and
was close to a world first. A hydro plant was built at
Bullendale in 1886 to power the gold stamper battery at one
of the most inaccessible goldfields in the country, the
Department of Conservation (Doc) said.
Water flowed down pipes fixed to the 60m cliff face to drive
the Pelton wheels and dynamos at the cliff base.
Electricity was transmitted by No 8 copper wire over a high
ridge to the battery 3km away, in the first such power
transmission in New Zealand.
Bullendale "is a site of international importance as it is
among the oldest surviving hydro-electric sites in the
world", Doc said.
Mr Clarke said the dynamo mainly needed stabilisation and a
The trust's vision, priorities and project-selection process,
from the wealth of worthy historical artefacts in the Lakes
district, were all settled by the trust in its first year.
The community is encouraged to nominate restoration projects.
Ms Stevens said conservation plans would be commissioned for
the projects and funding would need to be applied for, to
supplement seed funding from Doc and the Queenstown Lakes
The charitable organisation aims to "identify, facilitate,
support and promote, the conservation, restoration and
development of historic heritage in the region in accordance
with established conservation criteria, for the benefit of