Where the past meets the present

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He Waka Tuia visual arts curator Gemma Baldock (left) and manager Sarah Brown place a pin in the 1928 map of Invercargill to illustrate where their home would have been in that year.

GIGANTIC street map of Invercargill in 1928 is proving popular at Invercargill’s combined art and museum exhibition space – He Waka Tuia.

Manager Sarah Brown said visitors to the temporary exhibition space were particularly excited not only to see the extra large map which was spread over a large portion of the floor, but to also try to locate where their house may have been in 1928.

Visitors also had the opportunity to scan the map and take note of the various changes to the city and its environs, including land reclamation along the Waihopai River and New River Estuary, the tramlines which use to run from the city to the suburbs, and many more changes as technology changed and the population increased.

Another large street map of Campbelltown, now known as Bluff, from the late 1800s was nearby.

Already, there were a number of coloured pins stuck in the maps to show the locations of people’s homes.

“Due to Covid protocol, once visitors had sanitised their hands, they could collect a sanitised pin from reception to place in the map,” Ms Brown said.

He Waka Tuia manager manager Sarah Brown beside an illustration of the Invercargill Water Tower which is part of Our Heritage Your History Commemorating 150 years of Invercargill City Council at the combined art and museum exhibition space.

The maps were an entree into Our Heritage Your History – commemorating 150 years of Invercargill City Council which was made up of three smaller exhibitions – Through The Lens, photographs of historic Invercargill from the Southland Museum & Art Gallery collection; Designing The Past – an in-depth look into the development and design of the city’s most well-known landmark, the Invercargill Water Tower, and Robert Park MacGoun – a series of stunning watercolours painted by the Southland County Clerk from the Invercargill Public Art Gallery collection.

Ms Brown described the three portions as a combination of art and artefact, saying the old photographs had also proved of interest to patrons, with many being able to recognise various landmarks and comparing the old photographs to today’s views.

Visual arts curator Gemma Baldock said MacGoun’s works depicted the land and streetscapes of Invercargill between 1885 and 1890.

“They have been preserved and undertaken conservation treatment recently, so this was the first time they have been displayed in a very long time.”

MacGoun was appointed the inaugural clerk and treasurer for Southland County Council on January 16, 1877, and resigned on July 12, 1906.

To complement the exhibition, visitors to the gallery could take part in two activities, a colouring-in picture or make a cardboard model of the water tower which they could take home.

Ms Brown said the models had also proved extremely popular with another print run taking place.

  • Our Heritage Your History – Commemorating 150 years of Invercargill City Council, Through The Lens; Designing The Past and Robert Park MacGoun; He Waka Tuia, corner of Don and Kelvin Sts, Invercargill, until Sunday, November 7.
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