By PHILIP CHANDLER
A former Arrowtowner claims she’s now found the stone ruins of an entire goldmining settlement above the Arrow River.
Tauranga-based Jan Morrison’s on a mission to restore Cooper’s Terrace, a kilometre from Arrowtown, to how it looked in about 1900.
Armed with an archaeological authority, she’s finishing her second stint clearing vegetation, and yesterday briefed representatives from the local council and Heritage New Zealand on what she’s found.
Before this summer she’d found remains from one hut and parts of a garden wall and an impressive ‘folly’ entranceway.
Over the past two months she’s uncovered evidence of another five huts either side of a dirt road and exposed the whole top of the 13-metre-long garden wall.
Importantly, she says the ruins all match up with an archive photo — ‘‘it’s absolutely perfect’’.
Morrison, who originally recalls playing in one of the huts in the ’60s, says she’s also working with the council to incorporate Cooper’s Terrace into the district plan.
‘‘I’ve been turned down by so many [funding] trusts because it’s not in the district plan.
‘‘In fact, there’s no title, this doesn’t officially exist anywhere.’’
She says she’s not had problems gaining consents for what she’s doing, including from the
private landowner, but is disappointed she’s not had any funding support.
‘‘The aim is to restore it so I really need to get people to start to pick this up.’’
Morrison, who estimates the project’s cost her $3000 so far, believes it would be ideal to
partner with a corporate.
She’s adamant Cooper’s Terrace can become as important as Arrowtown’s Chinese Settlement.
She’s said: ‘‘It’s probably the last time we’re going to find an historical site of this significance so close to civilisation where tourists and locals alike can visit and learn about the stories of our history and how people used to live during those early goldmining days.’’
Vandals create havoc
Morrison says she’s ‘‘heartbroken’’ a big steel toolbox, full of tools, has been stolen from the site, despite being chained to a tree.
Both the box and the tools had been donated.
Morrison also says ‘‘someone looking for gold or treasure has been digging seven or eight deep holes throughout the site, and Heritage NZ are not pleased’’.
She’s put up signage but is looking at ways to secure the site.
When she returns next summer she’ll use a locked portacom to store tools.