The colourful social history of 19th century Otago will be revealed in a new exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the discovery of gold in the Province, opening at Archives New Zealand’s Dunedin Regional Office on Friday 18 March.
Curated as part of Layers of Gold – the Dunedin Heritage Festival – Refer to Gold Fields Secretary: Administration of the Otago Gold Fields will highlight archives from the Otago Provincial Government and the Lawrence Warden’s Court and will illustrate the multifaceted nature of the roles they played in managing the gold rushes from the 1860s.
Dunedin Regional Archivist Peter Miller says, “the exhibition also features records illustrating the often complex relationship between Chinese mining communities and the gold fields’ bureaucracy, along with records relating to one of Otago’s earliest and most intriguing murder mysteries.”
Documents on display will include original letters from Gabriel Read to Superintendent Richardson of the Otago Provincial Government dating from the earliest days of the Tuapeka Gold Field, along with letter books, registers and other historically significant correspondence from the Otago Provincial Government; various licensing registers and other records from the Lawrence Warden’s Court; the “Chinese Petition” circulated amongst the Chinese community of Queenstown in 1872, demanding the removal of the locality’s Warden; and an enlarged facsimile of a very intricate map of the Gold Fields, dating from 1864.
The exhibition will run from 18 March to 15 April, and will be open from 9:30am-5:00pm Monday to Friday, entry is free.
Archives New Zealand’s Dunedin Regional Office is located at 556 George Street, Dunedin.