1860s grindstone found near Orepuki
When 13-year-old Brianna Nally found an odd-shaped stone in the sand near Monkey Island, she had no idea how significant it was.
The James Hargest College student said the top part of the stone was sticking out of the sand and she had to dig it out to see the rest of it.
Brianna said she knew it was something different as soon as she found it, and spent the rest of the week "treasure hunting".
After showing it to her grandfather, who said the heavy round object was quite old, Brianna took her find to the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.
The museum's history curator David Dudfield was glad Brianna did, and said the grindstone could possibly have been made in the 1860s.
Mr Dudfield said when Orepuki was originally settled in the 1860s by goldminers, the township was at Monkey Island and supplies were brought from Riverton and landed at a small jetty at the island.
The grindstone could be from "old" Orepuki, possibly a store that offered blade-grinding services, a shipwreck in the area, or it may have been discarded.
Mr Dudfield said it was made from coarse sandstone and had a square hole in the middle which would have stopped the spinning mechanism from slipping.
"Even though we don't know where exactly the grindstone came from, its style and location make it an important part of Southland's social history," he said.
The museum would do more research on the stone and add it to the museum collection, where it would be used in future exhibitions and be available to researchers. Brianna has gifted the stone to the museum.
- The Southland Times
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