So, a bit of history. 2834Kg of gold was extracted from this area, which encompassed three mines, one of which was the Kildare Mine and it was this mine that later formed the Blue Lake. It operated the highest hydraulic lift in the world at that time with two vertical lifts, one 165ft and one 60ft.
By 1864, 1000 people live in Dunstan Creek. In 1866 the Dunstan Creek was dropped and renamed St Bathans, the original name given by the first surveyor of the district. In the late 1860's it boasted 15 hotels, a number of gambling and dance halls and many businesses. Many of the miners came from Ireland, and there were also 50 registered Chinese miners. Most of the dwellings disappeared after WWII. The sun-dried brick buildings, like other dwellings in St Bathans suuccumbed to the weather after their roofs were removed for their iron.
I love this photo! does'nt the sky look so dramatic in the background?! Thats our beloved 1967 Mustang parked in the front by the way.
The Vulcan hotel was originally called the Ballarat Hotel, built in 1882. Its name was changed after the original Vulcan Hotel further down the street was destroyed by fire. The shamrock you can see in the middle of the facade is an original relic from the times of the rivalry between the Irish settlers from St Bathans, and the Welsh settlers from Cambrian just down the road. Their rivalry was known as "The War of the Roses". Theres also a friendly ghost that is said to have taken up residence in Room1! In 1967 all 22 residents voted for 10 o'clock closing - it was the only place in NZ which had made a unanimous decision.
On a clear gorgeous sunny day the lake apparently is the loveliest shade of blue - a shame the sun was'nt playing ball that day :( You can drive right down to the lakes edge and canoe, speed boat etc in the lake. The colour of the lake is a direct result of the mining that went on.
We did'nt get to see everything and so we're going back. You can stay in the Policemans cottage, which Im dying to do! and wander through the old cemetaries - theres two, one for Catholics and one for Non-Catholics. So much history still to discover, we will back next year!
I discovered when we got here that we had left the memory chip for the camera at home so I only had room in the memory for four photos - the rest was taken up by car photos and there was apparently no way in hell I could delete those lol! When we left here we went to Alexandra for lunch and found a camera store - you can't go to a car show without taking loads of photos. How exciting! Im kidding, really!
Have a good week