Restoration sheds light on region's past

RACHEL ASKEW
Last updated 13:37 10/02/2014
Southland Times photo
RACHEL ASKEW/Fairfax NZ
South Otago Museum curator Gary Ross with the Lawes Challenge Shield and the newly restored paintings of Inveresk in the background.

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A set of six watercolour paintings depicting the "historically significant" farming property Inveresk, near Stirling, is now on display at South Otago Museum.

Each picture was conserved, re-mounted and then displayed in a restored frame. They hang alongside the Lawes Challenge Shield, which was won by Inveresk farmer George Hay Gilroy for having the best managed farm in Otago and Southland between 1894 and 1897.

In a Clutha Leader column last year, curator Gary Ross said the paintings showed "the unique farm buildings and practices on one of the most historically significant properties in the district".

With the addition of the Lawes Shield, they preserve the story of Mr Gilroy and his success as a pioneer, he said.

"The content of the paintings reflects the architecture, livestock and farm machinery... they're a window."

Some of the outbuildings in the paintings were still visible today.

Mr Gilroy arrived in New Zealand in 1862, opening a blacksmith business in Bluff before moving to Stirling in 1864, where he operated similar businesses throughout the district. He went on to become an award-winning farmer.

The paintings were done by R Harrison, who was a member of the Dunedin Art Society.

Mr Ross wanted to thank Lesley Askew who donated the paintings, as well as the current owner of Inveresk, the Balclutha Genealogy Society and the community for raising $1200 to have them restored.

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- Clutha Leader

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