Restoration project golden opportunity

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The Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust is offering an ounce of gold as a raffle prize, with the money raised going to the Stewart Town conservation project.

One ounce was worth about $US1280 ($NZ1863) on the London market earlier this week.

The trust has been granted more than $84,000 by the Central Lakes Trust to restore the Stewart Town historic cottage and dam at Pipe Clay Gully, near Bannockburn.

Trust secretary Terry Davis said while the grant was greatly appreciated, fundraising would still be required, as the grant had provided only half the funds needed.

The first stage of the project would be to reroof the stone cottage and make masonry repairs on both the cottage and the 1.4ha Menzies Dam.

The Menzies Dam was built by David Stewart and John Menzies in 1873.

The water was used for sluicing gold out of the hills in the Bannockburn basin.

“The Pipe Clay Gully site is unique because you are able to see the whole mining operation, from the water races to the dam to the sluiced-out hills, plus examples of home life with the Stewart cottage and orchard,” Mr Davis said.

Stewart Town looks out over the Bannockburn Sluicings Historic Reserve, and offers spectacular views over the site.

“We have many visitors already and with the conservation we hope to do, it will become even more popular,” Mr Davis said.

Trust treasurer Odette Hopgood-Bride said the trust had applied to the Lottery Grants Board for funding and was expecting to hear back by the end of November.

If the Lottery Grants Board came through, a second phase of restoration could start, including weed control, hiring an arborist, installing a toilet and getting irrigation to the site.

Raffle tickets for the one ounce of gold are $5 each and are available from Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust by phoning (03) 445-0111.