Glenorchy prepares to look back on 150 years

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A massive heritage project in Glenorchy is close to completion ahead of residents celebrating 150 years of settlement.

The tiny community has raised a whopping $350,000 to extend the existing Glenorchy Lagoon walkway by 1.7km, restore the old Glenorchy Library to its original condition and develop a heritage trail around the town to identify local buildings.

“Incredibly the boardwalk, library and heritage trail projects will be ready for opening at Labour Weekend,” Lagoon Walkway extension coordinator Vladka Kennett says.

“This has all been down to amazing combined efforts from businesses and locals in the community.”

The town’s celebrations committee has been planning the Labour Weekend event for three years and all 450 residents are preparing for the event – including many of the men participating in a beard growing competition.

The community wants people from all over the Wakatipu and beyond to join in the festivities.

A calvacade of gold miners will ride into town to officially welcome Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden to Glenorchy on October 22.

Keith Springer, who initiated the Glenorchy Lagoon Walkway 15 years ago, will officially launch the extended boardwalk and well-known 92-year-old local Mary Aitken will open the library.

Other events include a 1950s dance and heritage dinner, an historical display, a Picnic in Paradise, food stalls and a one-off trip around the head of the lake on the TSS Earnslaw.

“There will be something for everyone, and visitors are encouraged to dress up in period costume and be transported back to days gone by,” celebrations committee spokeswoman Kate Scott says.