Monday, February 28, 2011

Tour of Lawrence

On Monday 28th February the entire junior school of Lawrence Area went for a tour around some of the heritage points of Lawrence. We were building our knowledge of our history in preparation for the 150th celebrations to be held in March. Each class had several different places to visit, and it was a very interesting day.

Vallory Brooks dressed as early colonial settler Helen Munro to give the children a truly authentic experience.
This is the remains of the home of Andy Dalziel in Munro's Gully. Sadly the hut has been crushed by a falling branch, and now we have to truly use our imagination to understand what it would have been like 100 years ago when it was the home of a single miner.
Vallory Brooks told the children stories of miner Andy Dalziel who lived in this hut. He was born in 1868 and died in 1956 so he did not mine at the time of the goldrush. He built this hut in Munro's Gully. It was a two bedroom hut, and he had a bed made of Manuka and sacking. Mrs Brooks said that it would have been quite luxurious to have 2 rooms at the time it was built.
Andy Dalziel had dug a fireplace into the clay bank, which formed the end wall of his house. He would have used this fire to cook on and for heat. The heat of the fire would have been retained in the clay bank, which would have kept his house very cozy. A chimney can be seen coming out the top of the fire place, also carved from the clay.

Mrs Brooks explained to the children how Andy Dalziel dug for gold using his shovel in a tunnel. As a child she never knew of this tunnel despite how much they searched. Andy Dalziel kept it a very well hidden secret. He would take his gravel down to a grate in the creek and wash it off looking for gold. Even his grate was well hidden in the rushes so that no-one would know where he was working.
Room 4 had a wonderful time running about on the hills, just as the colonial children would have done 150 years ago.
Regen and Elliot take a closer look at the tunnel where Andy Dalziel dug for gold.
We had a quick stop at the site of the Chinese Mining Camp. All that remains is the old hotel and the stables.
This is the old hotel, which is now a private residence.

During the goldrush the Chinese Camp was a thriving township. The Chinese miners had to trek over the hill into Gabriel's Gully every day in order to make their living. Life was very hard for the Chinese miners.
Over the past few years there have been many archaeological excavations at the Chinese campsite. They are searching for artifacts and remnants of the Chinese miners. Much of what has been found is on display at the Lawrence Museum.
At the museum we were able to see displays that showed what life was like for the gold-miners. Here is a miner panning for gold in the river with his tent and belongings close by.
Miners lived in small tents, and some used hay as a type of mattress to make their bed a little bit softer. They did not have many belongings because they had to carry everything they owned from one spot to the next. If they did not find gold then they would pack up and move to a different spot in the hope that they might find gold there. They used a small open fire to cook their food and to keep them warm.
We also saw an original colonial home, which was made from mud bricks. It was just one room, which held a bed, a kitchen and a side board. It was not very big, and it was hard to imagine a whole family living in there.
We had a chance to sit and imagine what school was like 150 years ago.
Adam and Alex investigate the slates that children used to complete their lessons on. It was funny to think that they would complete their work only to have to rub it all out and start something new. It sure would have saved a lot of paper!

Framed behind a glass case was an old strap. Some of the Dads could remember what it was like to get the strap. When children were naughty their teacher would hit them across the hand with it. We thought it was a good idea to leave this one at the museum!
This cabinet holds many of the artifacts that were dug up from the Chinese camp. They are small medicine bottles and glass jars that were used by the Chinese.
Adam investigates the water wheel, that was used in the time of the goldrush.
This is a cradle which was used to help sluice the gravel in a more efficient way. Miners could sift more gravel by using a cradle.
This is the kind of wagon that people used to transport large loads. Not many people owned wagons, mainly rich people. They were hooked on behind horses, and not many people could afford horses.
This is the Cobb & Co which was used for delivering the mail to Lawrence.
Our next stop was the 'Pick and Shovel' monument which is up Gabriel's Gully.
Elliot, Izack, Mac and Samantha explore the monument.
The ideal spot for a group photo.
Our last stop before lunch was at Blue Spur, which at the time of the goldrush had been a thriving township. All that remains now is a sign depicting what used to be and a few old buildings.
It was hard to imagine how big Blue Spur had been.
And especially hard to imagine how full the little school must have been. 226 pupils in just 3 classrooms!!! Schooling would have been very different!
We stopped to have our lunch at Steve Roberston's pond. He showed most of the classes through the Vintage Club Museum and around an old miners house that has been restored on his property. He has many authentic mining things to look at which make his property a very interesting place to visit.

Our final activity for the day was to walk the Interpretive Track up Gabriel's Gully. Our tour guide was Mr. Auld and he was able to share lots of knowledge about Gabriel Read and the Racemen.
Everybody set off up the track. There was lots to stop and look at as we made our way up the hill. Here is Sam O'Connell climbing out of a cave that was used to keep gunpowder and dynamite dry in the time of the gold mining.
Along the way there were little seats that we could stop and rest on as we reflected on how different life was at the time of the goldrush.
Here we are standing in what use to be Polland's Dam. It was at the top of the raceway, and to get there we had walked in some of the old races. The races were a way of getting water to travel very quickly down the hillside, providing enough pressure at the bottom for large hoses to wash away gravel and stone from hillsides in the the search for gold. Here Mr Auld is pointing out the spot where we saw the trap door. This was how the racemen let the water go.
Here we are enjoying a 'bit of a sit' at the spot where the Raceman's cottage used to be. There are still many flowers and fruit bushes growing wild, which show that the raceman had a garden. His cottage was not very far from Polland's Dam.
The view from the top of the track was quite incredible.
Phew! What a busy and information-packed day. We have all come away with a much better understanding of what life was like for the miners 150 years ago.
We would love to read your comments and/or thoughts about our photos and information that we have learnt so far about the history of Lawrence.

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