Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Sunday, 19 December 2010
The Drummond Hall is being taken apart, piece by piece. It was built by about 1902 and has been the centre of the Drummond community for over a hundred years. Various forces have converged to create its demise - a costly upgrade being the major factor.
I was told by the gentleman dismantling it that the whole building was made of rimu including the walls which were lined with tongue in groove. Some of the wood has already been recycled and is now part of the new, beautiful bar at the Otautau Hotel (along with wood from the Pukemaori School), and some of the wood will be going to Auckland. The wood with borer will be burned.
It was surprising to hear from this gentleman that no schools have visited the site to learn more about the history of the area, and why the hall was being dismantled. Nor have any scout groups approached him for wood to use in building projects. Seems a shame to have such a quiet end for something that was once so lively and part of the community.
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
But let's look back a few years...
The photo above, taken just two years ago, shows weeds growing in the concrete graves and sheep deployed to keep the grass down.
The cemetery was opened in 1879 and closed in 1947. It has had its share of problems as well as its glories. A century ago, the sexton, under the auspices of the Cemetery Trust battled gorse, weeds and drays being driven over the graves. Then came the planting of the trees in the 1930s. Decades later, their harvest seemingly left the cemetery in ruins. Iron fencing was mangled and stumps littered the final resting place of the pioneers. There were attempts to clean up the place but ultimately it was not sustained.
Today, the kiosk was officially opened to a small crowd of locals as well as descendants from as far away as Christchurch.
David Adamson, SDC Chief Executive Officer opened the ceremony.
The restoration is heartening. There is still more work to do but the cemetery is now in good enough condition that descendants can feel better about restoring their ancestors' graves as well as installing new plaques for unmarked graves.
The old cemetery is now something to be proud of thanks to the work of SDC staff and contractors, the Otautau Lions Club, and the activism of Alythia Larsen and the local community.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
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The old Otautau Cemetery was looking better today than it had in years. Gone were the unsightly overgrown grasses and ragged iron fencing. S...