Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thames (NZ): Bella Street Pumphouse

Whether you live in, or are visiting Thames, the BELLA STREET PUMPHOUSE MUSEUM - is well worth a visit! Situated on the corner of Bella & Cochrane Streets, it is open Saturday and Sunday (10am to 3pm). The admission price as at June 2012 was: Adults $5, Children $2, Family $10.
From the outside you may wonder what it has to offer, perhaps even think it is just for the pure mine enthusiast. How wrong you would be. Inside the building it is impressive, with a wide range of displays and working models. Volunteers take you on a tour of the remains of the outside pump site and a full guided tour around the building. The bonus is the wonderful collection of old Thames photographs that adorn several side rooms - these alone make the visit worthwhile.

History: The building housed the "Big Pump" that was used to remove water from the mines at the northern end of the town. Built 1897-98 and it could remove 2000Litres of water per minute from depths of 300 metres. It ceased operation in 1914. It is registered as a category II building with New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
(Source: NZ Historic Places Trust)

NB. Information on the first BIG PUMP can be found at The Treasury Journal: "The Big Pump site revisited 2012" By D Wilton