Detector uncovers a slice of New Zealand's colonial past

18:46, May 18 2014
time capsule
HISTORIC FIND: Clinton Broomhall, centre, and his three sons, from left, Connor, 12, Riley, 11, and Noah, 7, with the 1887 time capsule and its contents which he found with his metal detector at the Temuka Domain.

What could have been rubbish turned out to be an historic find.

While out hunting around the Temuka Domain with his metal detector, Clinton Broomhall discovered a buried time capsule from 1887.

However, because it was a lead box, he almost didn't dig it up.

time capsule
OLD TIME HERALD: A copy of The Timaru Herald from 1887 found inside a time capsule.

"The metal detector gives a certain signal. Lead, you usually wouldn't bother digging up," he said.

He decided to dig in and as he got deeper, he said the sound of the metal detector got louder until he found the box about a foot down.

When he cut the box open, inside he found a handwritten parchment celebrating "Her Most Gracious Majesty" Queen Victoria, signed by New Zealand dignitaries and stamps, coins and New Zealand newspapers all from the era when this country was still a colony.

In the past, Broomhall said he has uncovered coins and jewellery, but the time capsule is the "weirdest thing" he has found and the only thing he won't keep.

Although he hasn't shown many people his find, he has had it looked at by an antique dealer and will donate it to either the Temuka or South Canterbury museum.


The Timaru Herald