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Seen Many Years | by Jocey K
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Seen Many Years

Cromwell, we decided to stay here the night as it was so hot 28c and not good for travelling any further. Day six of our fast trip around the South Island with my friends from the UK. November 7, 2013 New Zealand.



Any one interested in following our trip around the South Island.. here is a map:


The concept of Old Cromwell Town is to “Preserving and reconstructing buildings from Cromwell’s past to create a unique attraction, and a setting for local artisans, cottage industries and special events”.


As the waters of Lake Dunstan began to rise behind the Clyde Dam, the price of progress involved the destruction of an essential piece of Central Otago history. But the foresight of a group of concerned residents of Cromwell in early 1985 resulted in an effort to save a portion of that history. ‘Save Old Cromwell’ was born and an autonomous voluntary Incorporated Society formed, with the Board managing the activities.


Initially, eight buildings were chosen from the old commercial area due to be submerged by the advent of the new hydro lake. These buildings were to be relocated further up the main street to a site above the new lake level – and so began ‘Old Cromwell Town’.


The concept of Old Cromwell Town today is based on terms of ‘believable’ town planning. That is, the Board is reconstructing a commercial, residential and rural zone where land is divided into distinct sections. This has been done to retain the authenticity of ‘street life’, industries and activities taking place side by side, as opposed to an open plan ‘theme’ type layout.


Constraints on the Board in the form of funding and time are a part of everyday life in Old Cromwell Town. However, with land tenure secured on the precinct, life can proceed in a positive direction.


Cromwell and the Central Otago district can now enjoy this delightful asset, a visual reminder of ‘how it used to be’. Cromwell is the only major historic gold town to have been largely submerged under the waters of the Clutha River, only to have part of the old Cromwell town centre actually survive.


Along with the new town, Old Cromwell Town still has a lot of growing to do. During the forthcoming years the public will not only see this happen, but will also have the opportunity to participate in the recreation and maintenance of this unique piece of history. Cromwell – submerged, but not forgotten!

For More Info:

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Taken on November 7, 2013