Saturday, 28 April 2012

Miners Tales.

As the centre of Reefton Racecourse is also the towns Rugby Park we were invaded by hoard’s of children this morning who were here to play their first Rugby games of the season. Teams from as far away as Westport arrived by bus.

Mid morning we ventured back into town to visit the Bearded Miners. Right in the centre of town a miners shack complete with wooden chimney and earth floor has been built, where old bearded (some not) miners talk to tourists about the good old days of Gold and coal mining in the district.

The bearded miners shack wooden chimney protected by strategically placed rocks inside. Note the satelitte dish. L.O.LThe bearded miners shack wooden chimney protected by strategically placed rocks inside. Note the satellite dish.

The shack also acts as a museum where old artefact's are kept and displayed like the local baker’s accounts from 1905 –1919. Each customers name was recorded under the respective town or mine site, how much bread was delivered each visit and the end of the month account. If the recipient couldn’t pay in full it was marked at the end of the column how much was owing to be carried over to next months account.

Inside the bearded miners shack with earth floor. Basic and simple. There is always a billy boiling on the hob.Inside the bearded miners shack with earth floor. Basic and simple. There is always a Billy boiling on the fire.

Other interesting stories came from memories of the railway network which serviced the mines. Alas most of this has long gone but the memories live on. Some of the bearded miners still keep there hand in panning for alluvial gold in the rivers and streams in the area especially when gold fetches $2000 an ounce these days. With the recent rain they reckon that some new gold will have been washed into the rivers and they will head out as soon as the river levels drop for another panning session. When ever an old identity of the town passes on the family find things of interest that they pass onto the Bearded miners for safe keeping.

Fairlie loco no R28. Built in England in 1878 and retired in 1948. Worked mainly in Canterbury and Greymouth.Fairlie loco no R28. Built in England in 1878 and retired in 1948. Worked mainly in Canterbury and Greymouth.

After lunch Robin took us off road to visit the site of the original first hydro power station in the country. Unfortunately there are only the foundations left these days. Earlier we found signs leading to the towns lookout which is also the site of the cell phone network towers. From high on the hill we had a good view of virtually the whole of Reefton including where the caravans and motorhome where parked.

Find Gypsy Rover parked next to the Reefton RFC club rooms.Find Gypsy Rover parked next to the Reefton RFC club rooms.

Returning to the racecourse we found the senior rugby players had arrived for their games. One gentleman recommended that we move our vehicles as we were impeding access to the changing rooms. After an initial move of a few feet it was decided to move right down to the rear of the racecourse site as the club rooms we were parked alongside would be in use until at least 10pm. Guessing what was likely to happen up until then and not wishing to be annoyed by those perhaps noisy and inebriated we moved.

Rail bridge over the Inangahua river, Reefton.Rail bridge over the Inangahua River, Reefton.

1 comment:

Les and Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi D and D
Thought of you as I blogged the steam trains in Llangollen and thought I`d best check in to your blog.
Still miss bumping into you both on the canals.
Take care
Les