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.