St Bathans Reflection

St Bathans Reflections – Buy 

While staying at the haunted Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans, I took the time to wander around the Blue Lake. Situated directly across the road from the pub, the lake is 800 metres long, 50 metres deep and completely man made. During the Otago gold rush, around the time of 1887, Saint Bathans transformed into a bustling town with nearly 2,000 miners living in the immediate vicinity. When the town was flooded with miners during the gold rush, the nearby Kildare Hill was transformed into a pit due to extensive sluicing operations. The pit was later filled with water and man into a lake.

The lake really is amazing and it was while walking along one of the tracks that I started to ponder what St Bathans would be like without the lake. Would the town still hold the attractive quality it does if it didn’t have the lake? I think it would!

McNally Road In The Ida Valley

Uncertain Journey's Have Been A Long Time Coming.McNally Road in the Ida Valley – Buy 

I had the bones of this photo sitting for a while before I eventually finished it. The idea of crossroads is a wonderful metaphor for so many ideas and themes. I particularly like the idea of a tarseal road crossing beyond the edge of the frame, while an alternative gravel road stretches off in the distance. It also has the added human elements of power poles, a giveaway sign, far off farm sheds and two hawks circling above on a summer afternoon in late December.

Winter Morning In Alexandra

Winter morning in Alexandra – Buy 

If you leave Dunedin and travel in a north-west direction, after 195 kilometers (or 121 miles) you’ll reach a town that started life being called “Lower Dunstan”. These days, it’s better known as Alexandra. Named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark by town survivor John Connell, it sits at the junction of the Clutha and Manuherikia rivers. 

In 1862, the Otago Gold Rush stretched into the Cromwell Gorge and later towards the Kawarau Gorge and Lake Wakatipu when Horatio Hartley and Christopher Reilly collected 34 kilograms of gold from the Cromwell Gorge. The discovery brought thousands of miners over the Rock and Pillar from Strath Taieri into the town of Lower Dunstan  which became known as Alexandra.

Butchers Dam

Butchers Dam – Buy 

It was while admiring the lovely sights of Butcher’s Dam that I decided it’s a shame it’s there at all. I’m not opposed to the dam, and the area is very nice. Not only is there a dam and lake to enjoy, but it also contains a historic hut, a multitude of tracks to walk and even a conservation area above it at a place called Flat Top Hill. 

However, before the dam was built between 1935 and 1937 during the great depression, the area was filled with all sorts of buildings and structures from the gold mining years of the 1860’s. Once gold was discovered there in 1862, miners from everywhere flocked to the area and a town quickly sprung up. The town included a Hotel, a store, butchers shop and market gardens that were owned by Chinese prospectors. 

As I walked along the dam I imagined how wonderful it would be to see the remains of the historic town that would have stretched through the valley and what a shame it is that those remains are lost forever. Still, the lake is very nice! 

Shed At Waipiata

Shed at Waipiata– Buy 

It wasn’t long after I arrived in Waipiata that I found the disused goods-shed that once belonged to the railway. In fact, I saw it immediately after turning into the town! Waipata’s claim to fame is that there was once both a rabbit processing plant and a tuberculosis sanatorium operating near the town in the early 1900’s. While the processed rabbits were transported to Dunedin via train, people were transported from Dunedin to the sanatorium.

The Vulcan In St Bathans

Inside The Vulcan – Buy

I stayed here one night and almost had the place to myself. I’m not sure what I would have done if it was busy. It was the perfect spot to process a few photos over a pint or two of Speight’s. Apart from a Grandfather and Grandson at the end of the bar happily sharing tales about fish and a lady in the dinning room, it was a very quiet night. They certainly didn’t might me setting up my camera for a photo before the landlady told us about the local ghost.