Cromwell Main Street 1975Clyde Railway TrainThe Old Alexandra Bridge

Ron Murray Collection

The Ron Murray Collection, held on an interactive touchscreen computer at the Cromwell Museum, makes an amazing photographic addition to the history of Cromwell and Central Otago.

A remarkable work of history, the Ron Murray Collection tells the stories of the early history of Cromwell, Central Otago and surrounds.

Scott Bennett, Ron Murray’s nephew, spent almost two years dating and identifying images, scanning and digitising the collection so that this amazing depiction of our history can be available to the community of Central Otago.

The array of more than 2,500 images is expansive, including images of dredges, buildings, townships, people, the Clyde dam, landscapes, the old Cromwell Township and demolition of, bridges and much more. As well as images, there are also hundreds of documents including newspaper clippings, diary extracts, letters and archeological surveys.

With these photographs and documents our community now has the opportunity to relive the rich history of Central Otago.

Ron Murray was a Cromwell identity who worked for many years in a local solicitor’s office. He began studying accountancy in 1951 and it became his career for the rest of his working life, with Cromwell firm Broderick, Parcell and McKay. However, his real passion was history, in particular the Cromwell district and gold mining. A keen and skilled photographer, he copied a large number of early photographs of the area and spent many hours recording oral histories, researching and documenting local history.

A highlight of Mr Murray’s many hours researching Central Otago history was co-writing Costly Gold, a book on Clutha gold mining published in 1978. He also co-wrote, with former Otago Daily Times correspondent Noel Kennedy, Early Pioneers in the Cromwell Area: 1863-1880, to mark Otago’s 150th anniversary.

In 1998 Mr Murray's contribution to recording Cromwell history was recognised with life membership of the Cromwell and District Historical Society.

The public are invited to view the collection and printed or digital images can be purchased at the Cromwell Museum. 




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