Thursday, 21 July 2011
Gold Office, St Bathans, Otago
Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans, Otago
Post Office, St Bathans, Otago
old stone house, St Bathans, Otago
Over a year ago we said we'd go back to St Bathans. Another promise to ourselves we have yet to honour. I must admit, the claims that a ghost haunts the Vulcan Hotel (where we planned to stay when we re-visit the place) creeps me out. Despite the wide popularity of Harry Potter-like or vampirish-fictions these days, I remain a paranormal-horror-semi-phobic. I have no fascination for ghosts and their ilk, just a wary unease. I think an alternative place of accommodation may have to be found.
When we visited the town of St Bathans, it felt peaceful yet heavy with history; a relatively recent history compared to the history of the 'old countries' such as Ireland and Scotland ... but a history nevertheless; one that dates back to the 1860's when the town was full of gold-miners and associated activities.
The more I delve into the history of our world, the more I realise how true the saying, 'The more things change, the more they stay the same'. (I believe we can credit someone French with that truism).
The people who frequented the buildings in the photos above, or worked the land in the photos below, would not be that much different to us. They may have worn funny clothes and spoke weird, but like us they sweated, swore, bled, cried and laughed. They thought themselves fortunate or thought themselves wretched, depending on the weather or circumstances. They endeavoured and they dreamed. They despaired and gave up. They loved, they hated, were optimistic and bitter. They were cynical. They were realistic. They were romantics. They were hopeful. They believed in a better future and yet they were convinced that they lived in the best of times.
remains of a sluice pipe and gold dredging mounds; Blue Lake, St Bathans, Otago
remains of gold dredging, Blue Lake, St Bathans, Otago
Blue Lake, St Bathans, Otago
I invite no ghost
to look right through me,
nothing from the past to find me
hiding in the here and now
from whatever wraith howls
for a future turned inside-out.
Kay McKenzie Cooke