Glenorchy event yields tales of yesteryear

04:55, Oct 23 2012
Kate, left,  and Iris Scott
Mounted up: Kate, left, and Iris Scott on their horses at the 150th celebrations in Glenorchy yesterday.

Long-forgotten tales of a bygone era resurfaced in Glenorchy as hundreds of people flocked to the small town at the head of Lake Wakatipu to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the settlement of the area.

Yesterday was the final day of celebrations, which included the launch of a DVD celebrating the construction of the Glenorchy road and a picnic in Paradise.

Glenorchy 150 celebrations committee member Elaine Kirkland said people had travelled from as far as Germany, the United States and Australia to celebrate the milestone.

"It's been really good . . . we had 290 at the dinner last night and that was by no means everybody.

"We could have sold another hundred tickets," Mrs Kirkland said.

And many came bearing precious tales passed on by parents and grandparents.

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"Interesting facts and little bits of history people have shared that we didn't know about . . . will now be recorded," Mrs Kirkland said.

A crowd of about 300 turned out to take part in official celebrations which included the arrival of a cavalcade, speeches, the judging of a beard growing competition and several family-friendly events, down on the lakefront yesterday.

In keeping with the pioneer spirit, cavalcade leader Richard Kennett read a message to Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden from a scroll.

"It's been a great week and a weekend around the Wakatipu and this is a high note to finish on today," Ms van Uden said.

Sixteen residents lined up to have their specially grown beards, which they'd been cultivating since August 1, judged, and in naming John Richards the overall winner the judging panel told the crowd his was an outstanding effort.

"It's good fun. It's a bit of a laugh . . . they've got a good attitude," Ms van Uden, a judge, said.

Yesterday's celebrations also included the opening of the 1.7km Glenorchy Lagoon Walkway extension and the restoration of the Glenorchy Library to its original condition.

Meanwhile, a long weekend of festivities to mark the 150th anniversary of the settlement of Arrowtown wrapped up with the burial of a time capsule on the banks of the Arrow River yesterday afternoon.

Residents and visitors gathered to see the time capsule, which included photographs, names of residents, school rolls, a cellphone and newspapers, buried at the site where gold was first discovered by Jack Tewa in 1862.

The Southland Times