One of Bendigo's oldest former residents, Bill Reid, whose
father was one of the first gold-miners in the area,
inspects the house where he lived for the first two years
of his life. Photo by Sarah Marquet.
Almost 150 years ago, Andy Reid, armed with pick, shovel,
hammer and explosives, worked at Bendigo digging for gold.
He had arrived in the area, just north of Cromwell, in 1887
after gold was discovered by Thomas Logan and Jack Garrett in
About 1900, he built a small cottage and eight children were
raised in it.
The cottage still stands.
The second youngest of those children, Bill, who is now 88
and living in Alexandra, was one of about 100 people who
turned out over the weekend to celebrate the 150th
anniversary of the discovery of gold.
He said he was only 2 when his family moved away from the
area about 1926 and because of his young age, he remembered
little of the town as it was, except the primitive boarding
house next to his family's cottage.
"They had no doors, only curtains [in place of doors] and
they had to wash outside."
Although he had been back to the area occasionally over the
years, he said he "just had to come back" for the 150th
The weekend, organised by the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust
and Department of Conservation, began with an informal run
over the 14km kanuka trail on Saturday morning.
For Hayden Johnston, a keen runner and owner of a
neighbouring vineyard, it was the first time he had done the
At one point he had to stop and take in the "amazing" view
across Lake Dunstan to the Southern Alps.
At the hillside function, the recent relocation of the
Bendigo Gold Light Co's dredge bucket ladder and restoration
work done on the old bakehouse, operated by Mr Reid's Aunty
Jean, were formally recognised.
The Cromwell Scout group provided girdle scones, made in the
ruins of the bakehouse throughout the day and a pot luck
lunch and talk about stone-wall building by stonemason Keith
The festivities concluded on Sunday with a picnic in the
vines, wine-tasting and a winery tour.