Monday, October 22, 2012

A Visit to Blackball

Liz rang me up the other night telling me she was about to pick up a new kitten and would I like to come for the drive.  I'm a sucker for small furry animals so jumped at the chance.  The kitten happened to live 347km away from my place so we packed a chilly-bin full of food and to off early in the morning.  Well - 7am - early enough for me!

The weather wasn't that good, so we didn't stop in many places, but we did decide to explore Blackball, a small town on the wet coast.  I mean the West Coast.  We were lucky - it stopped raining just as we got there.


Blackball was named after the Black Ball Shipping Line which leased land in the are to mind for coal.  It was formerly known as Joliffetown and Moonlight Gully.  It is the centre of NZ radicalism and workers' militancy, and was the birthplace of the NZ Labour Party, which followed the 1908 miners 'cribtime' strike which at ten weeks was the longest in NZ history.

The miners also striked in 1913 and this time, they burnt down the secretary of the 'arbitration' (scab) union's home.  In 1925, the headquarters of the Communist Party of NZ moved to Blackball from Wellington.

Liz and I wandered down the street with our cameras.  We found one shop - the Blackball Bling....




Dr Who was obviously around somewhere but we couldn't find him anywhere.  We did find his spaceship though...


However, he had left someone guarding his ship...


Liz was hoping to be teleported to some other planet, but I think they had taken the engine out so she was out of luck..


Lots of properties and sections for sale. If anyone wants a blackberry field - look no further...


This is 'Formerly the Blackball Hilton Hotel'.  Built in 1910.  The international Hilton chain made them change it's name from the Blackball Hilton...  Now a good popular pub going by the few cars that were outside...


We wandered down the main road taking photos of the houses....


If anyone from Auckland wants to clear their mortgages, you should sell up and buy this one, which is for sale....



Some of the houses were freshly painted and very tidy...



But the majority were not...


What surprised me was the open drains along each side of the road.  That's something we don't often see in safety conscious New Zealand...


Black and White lawnmowers that bleated dotted some of the gardens.



I found the dead centre of blackball.  Small, and some of the graves were very old...



Old barns/woodsheds were abundant as well...


The only locals we saw were very talkative!



The coal mining pit was closed in 1964.  The current population is 330, and the NZ museum of Working Class History will be opening there soon.

Very interesting little side trip and some important history of New Zealand looked at.  I think Blackball is worth a visit if you're passing that way.

4 comments:

Kiwi Gran said...

Love the Blackball images..i have quite a few from this picturesque towm. We stayed at the local Hilton!!
Did the kitten survive the journey??

Kiwi Gran said...

Love your Blackball photos... I stayed in the local Hilton a few years ago!

Kiwi Gran said...
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Robyn said...

Yes kitty survived the journey home - was very good - slept most of the way :) What was the hilton like?