Monument settles in at new home

HELEN MURDOCH
Last updated 14:19 22/05/2014
Glenhope
RAY DAY
MEMORIAL REVAEALED: Steve Egger's Lift'n'Shift hiab tackles the job of moving the Glenhope settlers memorial cairn to its new site near the former town's old rail station.

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A historic rock cairn bearing the names of early Hope Valley settlers has been successfully relocated on Crown land near the former Glenhope Railway Station.

Although the recent move took longer than expected when a truck carrying the six-tonne monument became stuck.

The Richmond Rotary project was driven by member Bob Dickinson who had become concerned the cairn, built in about 1935 by the New Zealand Women's Institute, had been slowly disappearing into the scrub at its former road reserve site.

Richmond Rotary members poured a reinforced concrete "donut" around the base of the rock pryamid to stop it collapsing when shifted.

Bob said the move happened on a rainy day earlier this month.

"Steve Eggers from Nelson brought his Lift n'Shift truck in around mid-day and we hooked the monument onto it and dragged it out.

"The theory worked fine and everything was going swimmingly until the truck got stuck."

Neighbouring farmers Jack and Leigh Pettigrew's attempts to move the truck with their 4WD tractor failed.

Work halted until Steve got another truck out from Nelson to winch out the stuck vehicle.

"With considerable help from local Paul Woods, and in the pouring rain, we managed to put the monument in the right place by 9.30pm," Bob said.

The group went back two days later and cleaned up the monument's new site.

The cairn carries the names of seven European settlers instrumental in the valley's pioneering history.

Those seven were prospector, hotel keeper, postmaster and unofficial sherriff George Moonlight; drover and bullocky George Batt; postmaster, prospector and councillor Robert Wi; Kawateri accommodation house and tavern owner John Ribet; councillor, local school board member and landowner Thomas McConachie; Robert Edgar, who owned an accommodation house on the top of the Glenhope Saddle; and John Rait who bought the first section in Murchison, built the Kawateri accommodation house and later bought Murchison's Commercial Hotel after the death of owner George Moonlight.

Bob said special thanks must go to Steve for his trucks, the Pettigrew's for their tractor, Richmond Hire for equipment, Tuffnell Plumbing for concrete, Thelin Construction for steel, Paul Woods for his manpower and enthusiasm, and Richmond Rotary Club for manpower and organisation.

Department of Conservation Nelson Lakes conservation manager John Wotherspoon said staff had started work tidying up the former Hope Valley community's old railway station.

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Work would continue over winter in time for a formal opening of the Glenhope Historic Reserve sometime in summer, he said.

- The Nelson Mail

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