Alexandra gold-mining historian Bob Kilgour is urging Otago
local authorities to get their cheque books out at a Labour
Weekend auction of old mining equipment.
The auction at Albert Town on October 26 will include a large
assortment of mining equipment rarely seen for sale.
Amid the 350 lots are sluice guns, railway wagons, hardwood
timber beams and four tonnes of railway spikes.
Mr Kilgour told the Otago Daily Times yesterday it
would be sad to see the rare relics leave the province.
''It should almost be bought by the district councils or
something to be kept in the area.''
He accepted councils did not necessarily have the cash
available for such purchases but believed the items in the
auction were ''just as important'' as the Eden Hore dress
collection the Central Otago District Council bought recently
''I collect memorabilia from the mining era and I try to
retain it in Central Otago, but it's become quite an
''The problem is, if you have got a couple of guys with a lot
of money they [the auction relics] will go for quite a good
price I would imagine.''
The auction is being held on behalf of Infinity Investment
Group, of Wanaka.
Infinity field manager Richard Sheldon said yesterday most of
the items were bought from Harliwich Holdings, of Roxburgh,
seven or eight years ago. It was intended most would become
features of a new hotel Infinity planned to build above the
However, the development had not gone ahead and now the items
were surplus to requirements.
''We really haven't got anywhere or anything in the future,
that we know of, where we can use it.''
Auction organiser Colin Moorfoot said he would like to see
the relics bought locally but expected most would be used in
the rebuilding of Christchurch bars.
Mr Moorfoot said the company would not be selling them off
pointing to an old wooden hardwood bridge beam he believed
might fetch $5000.
Mr Kilgour suspected some items might have been used
originally by the Ladysmith Gold Mining Company or the
Roxburgh Amalgamated Gold Mining Company.
He believed the equipment should be returned to where it was
When asked for his view on the auction, historic places
regional archaeologist in Dunedin Dr Matthew Schmidt said the
owner could sell the items but the trust ''always encourages
people that if the provenance of gold-mining heritage items
is known, then these are returned to the heritage site from
which they originated''.
Dr Schmidt said pre-1900 artefacts could not be removed from
an archaeological site without authority.