Motorists passing through Cardrona on Saturday were
momentarily transported back in time as they shared the road
with horses, stagecoaches and people in period costume during
the community's 150 Years of Gold celebrations.
The event drew many visitors to the tiny village, while most
of the residents of the valley got into the spirit of the
occasion by dressing in 1800s attire. Local children took
part in a period school class re-enactment in the Cardrona
Hall and, outside, the crowd was kept entertained throughout
the day by dog trials, equestrian events, gold panning
competitions, music, can can dancers, blacksmith
demonstrations and historic displays.
At 3.15pm, a Scottish piper led a procession along the main
street, with the official party - including Cardrona's
mayor-for-the-day John Lee - waving at spectators from a
stage coach. During the opening of the event at midday,
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden spoke of the
importance of retaining the special characteristics of places
''The things those pioneers recognised and put in place are
still the things today's population want to see protected
forever and I think that's one of the most fitting tributes
we can pay to the people who have lived in the Cardrona
Valley over the last 150 years,'' she said.
Mr Lee also gave a speech, providing some history on the
Cardrona valley, where he had spent all his 76 years.
He made special mention of the McDougall family, who ran the
village's post office for 86 years, and the Scurrs, who also
have a long association with the area. Mr Lee also paid
tribute to the hundreds of Chinese miners who lived in
Cardrona a century and a half ago, and called for a memorial
to be put up in their honour somewhere in the village.
Yesterday, the celebrations continued with the annual
Cardrona Vintage Fair in the grounds of the Cardrona Hotel.
Hundreds of people attended the fair and dined on rabbit
stew, broom flower and watercress scones, spit-roasted merino
lamb and other produce from the area.