We had almost a week to wait for WOMAD (World Of Music, Arts and Dance) so settled down in the leafy new NZMHA park near Vogeltown, with its massive padlocked gates. There were similar gates at the new parks in Rotorua and Kerikeri and doubtless at several other new parks we are yet to visit. For $3 per person per night and usually with potable water available, these parks are extremely good value, compared to $6-$25 at POPs and $45 or more at commercial holiday parks.
The morning after our arrival we saw the Variety Bash off then returned to enjoy (?) heavy rain all afternoon. The local library provided a welcome refuge. It has a modern grand piano which anyone can play and I was delighted to see two young people doing so.
Fortunately the forecast for more heavy rain over the next few days did not eventuate, but i did a great deal of baking next morning as we waited for the rain to come. Being Sunday we checked out the visitor guide and noted which attractions were only open that day, so took off late afternoon and just managed to squeeze several in.
We paid a visit to the Aviation Transport and Technology Museum and I was enthralled by the Printing shop with a whole set of linotype machines (granddad Johnston was a newspaper reporter with the Sydney Morning Herald). There were extensive collections of everything from old phones, to dredge engines and even an old Harvard plane. Also the usual domestic items – Dave and I must be getting on as we both remembered quite a few of them. WE also noted that there is a NZMCA park in the grounds and may well use it for a day or so later on to recharge all our power appliances, batteries, etc.
We also visitedt the delightful little Hurworth Cottage, only open at weekends. The only survivor of a settlement of the same name established in the 1850s near New Plymouth by members of the Atkinson and Richmond families from England. This brochure tells more …
The cottage only had 3 rooms, one up some extremely steep stairs. But it was extended many times by subsequent generations. When the Historic Places Trust bought it in 1967 they slowly and carefully stripped away 100 years of additions, renovations and modernisations and restored the old features.
A great find was a reminder of the early land wars – I refuse to call it graffiti.
The family went a little further than the usual locks of hair in Victorian mourning brooches…
The main room now contains Sir Harry’s parliamentary desk and a wonderful collection of old books in pristine condition. Indeed there whole cottage had a clean fresh airy feel to it. I was immediately envious of the family photos and a family tree above the wide fireplace.
There was some beautiful old crockery donated by various people and the caretaker/guide at the cottage told us the story of the families crockery being buried somewhere near when they fled to Wanganui when the land wars started and not recovered when the family returned as several of the cottages and the surrounding bush has been burned by the maoris who occupied the houses for a time. The crockery was found 70 years later:
The 150th anniversary of Hurworth was celebrated by a re-enactment of the marriage of Amelia-Jane and Harry. What a wonderful idea!!