History for a date blunder


A bungled date on a plaque at Queenstown’s Village Green has got a local history buff hot under the collar. 

Four large metal panels overlooking the Green on Ballarat Street are engraved with details chronicling the resort’s past, including when the Kingston to Frankton Road was completed. 

The date, etched in metal, says it was 1926, but it should read 1936. 

Queenstown’s Jon Dumble noticed the blunder and wants things put right. 

“Most people who are going to look at it will take it for gospel. I mean ten years is really not that important, but for someone like Joan Cooke, who was closely involved in the construction of the Kingston Road when she was a kid, it’s of interest to her,” Dumble says. 

Cooke, born in Queenstown in 1931, is the daughter of a local milkman who supplied the trailblazing road workers and she remembers the day the route opened – in 1936. 

“I stood in the tussocks and watched the first cars go by. It was quite cold and I remember because my brother had whooping cough.” 

She too wants the error rectified. 

“I think it would be a shame if it’s not changed,” Cooke says. 

The mistake was a simple typo which was overlooked, Lakes District Museum director David Clarke says. 

Longtime local landscape architect Paddy Baxter, boss of the Baxter Design Group, was commissioned by Queenstown Lakes District Council in 2008 to make the panels. They cost more than $40,000, and he is devising a way to correct the mistake. 

“We haven’t worked it out yet but we’ll find a way of doing it. We’ll just use a little router and do a little cutting and pasting on site,” Baxter says.