'The Ron Murray Collection, held on a new interactive touchscreen computer at the Cromwell Museum, makes an amazing photographic addition to the history of Cromwell and Central Otago."
18 December 2012
New photograph collection paints vivid picture of Central Otago’s history
Just in time for the holiday season history and photography buffs have a fascinating new historical source to explore.
The Ron Murray Collection, held on a new interactive touchscreen computer at the Cromwell Museum, makes an amazing photographic addition to the history of Cromwell and Central Otago.
A remarkable work of history, the Ron Murray Collection tells the stories of the early history of Cromwell, Central Otago and the wider Otago region.
Scott Bennett, Ron Murray’s nephew, has spent almost two years dating and identifying images, scanning and digitising the collection so that this amazing depiction of the district’s history can be available to the community of Central Otago.
“It has taken one and a half years to digitise my uncle’s historical information but hopefully it should provide a great resource for future generations,” said Mr Bennett.
The array of more than 2500 images is expansive, including images of dredges, buildings, townships, people, the Clyde dam, landscapes, bridges and much more. As well as images, there are also hundreds of documents including newspaper clippings, diary extracts, letters and archeological surveys.
“The Ron Murray Collection is a much-needed contribution to the history of Central Otago. With these photographs and documents our community will have the opportunity to relive the history of Central Otago,” said Cromwell Community Board Chair Neil Gillespie.
Ron Murray was a Cromwell identity who worked for many years in a local solicitor’s office. He began studying accountancy in 1951 and it became his career for the rest of his working life, with Cromwell firm Broderick, Parcell and McKay. However, his real passion was history, in particular the Cromwell district and gold mining. A keen and skilled photographer, he copied a large number of early photographs of the area and spent many hours recording oral histories, researching and documenting local history.
A highlight of Mr Murray’s many hours researching Central Otago history was co-writing Costly Gold, a book on Clutha gold mining published in 1978. He also co-wrote, with former Otago Daily Times correspondent Noel Kennedy, Early Pioneers in the Cromwell Area: 1863-1880, to mark Otago’s 150th anniversary.
In 1998 Mr Murray's contribution to recording Cromwell history was recognised with life membership of the Cromwell and District Historical Society. The public are invited to view the collection and printed or digital images can be purchased at the Museum.
To view the photographs contact:
47 The Mall, Cromwell
Phone: 03 445 0212
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