Few tick­ets left for fundraiser


Tick­ets are sell­ing fast for the Min­ers Din­ner & Show at the Bella Street Pump­house in Thames on Au­gust 18-19.

The Bella Street Pump­house So­ci­ety prom­ises two great nights out, with a three-course meal and cash bar. En­ter­tain­ment on the night in­cludes Thames Tinkers and Jen­nifer Neale. Pe­riod dress is en­cour­aged as the so­ci­ety cel­e­brates 150 years since the dis­cov­ery of the Thames gold­fields.

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Rex Geary said there were only a few tick­ets left. They hoped to raise more than $1000 from the event, he said.

Peo­ple are com­ing from around New Zealand and Aus­tralia, and din­ers will in­clude those with an­ces­tors in­volved with min­ing in the town 150 years ago.

Funds raised will go to­ward an es­ti­mated $450,000 needed to build a replica of the 19.8m high wooden pop­pet head frame be­hind the mu­seum. The orig­i­nal pop­pet head was built for a lift shaft to ser­vice about 14 mines up to 305m be­low the mu­seum in the 1890s.

So­ci­ety chair­man Mal­colm Sow­man said about $50,000 had been raised so far to build the new struc- ture out of lam­i­nated tim­ber.

‘‘We want to res­ur­rect that pop­pet head up over the top again,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a pretty mas­sive struc­ture, the tim­bers in­volved are big. The legs are 1m square.’’

The so­ci­ety has been work­ing with Her­itage New Zealand for more than two years, he said.

Mean­while, about 15 so­ci­ety mem­bers have been restor­ing equip­ment in the build­ing, which pumped 4000 gal­lons of wa­ter per minute to lower the wa­ter ta­ble in the area so the mines didn’t flood. This al­lowed min­ers to work as deep as 305m, he said. The wa­ter was drained to the coast in brick-lined drains.

Doors open at 6pm for the Min­ers’ Din­ner & Show, and din­ner will be served at 7pm. Tick­ets are on sale at Car­son’s Book­shop, Pollen St, Thames.

The so­ci­ety is also cur­rently stag­ing a pho­to­graphic ex­hi­bi­tion by John Fields: Thames & Towns­peo­ple - a pho­to­graphic sur­vey 1973-75, un­til Septem­ber 1.

For the month of Au­gust, the mu­seum will be open on Tues­days and Thurs­days from 4pm un­til 7pm and the rest of the week from 11am un­til 5pm.

Go to bel­las­treet­pump­house.com for more in­for­ma­tion.


Get­ting ready for the Min­ers’ Din­ner & Show are, from left: Don and Carol Cress­well, Mil­ton Shep­herd, Dave Thom­son and Cyn­thia Shep­herd.

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