Society’s history told
The Queenstown Historical Society celebrated turning 50 earlier this month with a trip on the Earnslaw – a piece of history it campaigned to save.
Chairwoman Marion Borrell said the society was established in 1965 by a group campaigning to prevent the Queenstown Borough Council from demolishing the old stone library on the corner of Ballarat and Stanley streets (now the Citizens Advice Bureau).
Later campaigns involved helping to save the Earnslaw from being scrapped or scuttled, stopping a hotel development on the Park St reserve, and helping save and restore Williams Cottage and the One Mile Powerhouse.
There were also defeats, such as failing to save Buckham’s Brewery buildings from demolition to make way for the hotel, now the Novotel Lakeside, on the site.
Among the 60 participants at the weekend’s celebration were two founding members, well-known locals Joan and Alan Cooke, who cut the cake.
People who had given notable service to the society were acknowledged with lapel badges.
The weekend also saw the launch of . Heritage Alive a history of the society written by Danny Knudson.
In launching the book Borrell said it was inspiring and humbling.
‘‘There were times of great struggle when the preservation of significant historic buildings lay in the hands of a small group of HeritageAlive, a history of the first 50 years of
the Queenstown and District
Historical Society by
Danny Knudson. volunteers armed only with pens, typewriters, voices and determination. We and our district are greatly indebted to these past members.’’
Borrell said the ever-increasing pressure of development in the district always meant a risk of losing historic buildings and trees.
‘‘The ‘protection’ part of our role will require vigilance . . . At the same time, our promotion of history is being aided by wondrous advances in communication technology. Our app of heritage sites will very soon be available on the internet, smartphones and tablets. We will of course continue to publish books and our magazine.’’
Heritage Alive is at Queenstown and Arrowtown libraries and Lakes District Museum.
Author Danny Knudson presents the book of the Queenstown Historical Society’s 50 years of action to former president Ray Clarkson.
Photo: Brian Marquand