The Great Snow of 1863

Ten or fifteen minutes drive south of Alexandra there is this gravestone. Buried here is John Stewart one of at least 12 gold miners who were known to have frozen to death in what is known as the Great Snow of 1863.

Robot Room Revisited

I photographed this room with a different camera a couple of months ago.
I’m convinced that there could be a photo somewherehere. This particular image may be as far as I can go but I won’t know till I have a longer look at it. Sometimes just seeing it up as my screen saver helps me to make this decision.

The room itself already looks very interesting, just as it is. I wonder if I could improve the arrangement. It would not be as difficult as it looks. These shapes are made of wood. They are moulds used for casting gold digging machinery.

Robot Room

Today, at Central Stories, a museum here in Alexandra, Central Otago, Jamie kindly showed me a room that I had never been in before. In fact, I didn’t know it existed! It is used for storage of parts of gold mining equipment. This town was built on gold.

When I saw this room I thought that it could be an exhibition just as it was. There was something about it that was perfect. It could almost be in a Biennale, although transportation of it could be a problem. 

Lighting was dim and I didn’t have a tripod so this photo is a little soft. I’m not even sure that photography is a suitable medium for conveying the power of this chamber.

Gold Fever

Alexandra, where I am living is a town to a large extent built on gold fever.
While early methods of extraction were of relatively low ecological impact, eventually large dredges were built. These dredges sifted through large areas, leaving rocky tailings which are now a feature of much of the land around here, though many on them now hidden by willows and poplars.

The dredge in the photo above was one of the largest and one of the last to operate in the area, not ceasing work until the early 50’s. I like the way it looks like something from ‘Alien‘. The photo is from the Turnbull Library. I wish I’d taken it.

Some of the tailings a few minutes away from where I live are a reserve, they can be seen in the Google Earth image below. The river is the Clutha.

I have been walking over the tailings hoping that somewhere in there is a photograph.
I took several images, an example is below, but so far no luck. I think that I need more

Central Otago

Sorry to have been out of touch for the last few days but I have been in Central Otago and way out of range of a computer connection. No mobile connection either.

Completely different to any other part of New Zealand, some of it is arid and rocky, cold in winter and hot in summer. Westerns could easily be filmed there.

Gold mining was one of the main activities and here is a view of some miners huts that have been preserved. I’m always intrigued by subjects that somehow get lost in the background. At Cape Foulwind some years ago from a high vantage point I tried to photograph seals lying on rocks. They were remarkably well disguised and it took several minutes to identify just how many there were there.