Extensive collection goes 'live' at museum

00:44, Jan 17 2013
Ron Murray
Cromwell identity the late Ron Murray. The Ron Murray Collection, an interactive photograph collection, has opened at the Cromwell Museum.

An interactive photograph collection of more than 2500 images relating to Central Otago's history has opened at the Cromwell Museum.

The Ron Murray Collection, held on a new touch-screen computer, tells the stories of the early history of Cromwell, Central Otago and the Otago region.

Mr Murray's nephew Scott Bennet spent almost two years dating and identifying images then scanning and digitising the collection so his uncle's depiction of the district's history could be made available.

Cromwell in 1876
Melmore Terrace in Cromwell in 1876, courtesy of the Ron Murray Collecton.

"It has taken one and a-half years to digitise my uncle's historical information but hopefully it should provide a great resource for future generations," Mr Bennett said.

The expansive collection includes images of dredges, buildings, townships, people, the Clyde dam, landscapes, bridges and hundreds of documents including newspaper clippings, diary extracts, letters and archeological surveys.

Cromwell Community Board chairman Neil Gillespie said the collection "is a much-needed contribution to the history of Central Otago.


"With these photographs and documents our community will have the opportunity to relive the history of Central Otago," Mr Gillespie said.

Ron Murray was a Cromwell identity who worked for many years in a solicitor's office. However, his real passion was history, in particular the Cromwell district and gold mining.

A keen and skilled photographer, he copied a large number of early photographs of the area and spent many hours recording oral histories, researching and documenting local history.

A highlight of Mr Murray's many hours researching Central Otago history was co-writing Costly Gold, a book on Clutha gold mining published in 1978. He also co-wrote "Early Pioneers in the Cromwell Area: 1863-1880" to mark Otago's 150th anniversary.

In 1998 his work was recognised with life membership of the Cromwell and District Historical Society.

Mr Murray died in 2010, aged 82.

The Southland Times