TSS Earnslaw named one of Otago’s most significant heritage sites

PRESS RELEASE: Real Journeys

Queenstown’s 105-year-old steamship TSS Earnslaw, was today recognised as one of 12 significant Otago landmark heritage sites.

Owned by tourism operator Real Journeys, its Chief Executive Richard Lauder was pleased the oldest coal-fired passenger-carrying steamship in the Southern Hemisphere had been included.  “A huge amount of maintenance work goes into the Earnslaw.  When she goes on her annual six week survey, a team of 20 to 30 work on her – everything is custom made. To see her value to New Zealand recognised in this way reminds us how important that work is.”

The heritage sites were nominated by councils and community organisations through the region for their special significance to New Zealand, high level of presentation, experience they offer and storytelling potential.

Heritage New Zealand Director of Southern Region Sheila Watson says the Earnslaw was chosen in particular for her transport and social history.  “The Earnslaw is living history going into the future.  Before the road went in she played a crucial role providing access to remote properties across the lake and today her role is equally important carrying visitors to the remote Walter Peak High Country Farm.  She once carried sheep – these days she often carries mountain bikes!”

A special plaque has been made for the TSS Earnslaw, and a ceremony will be held next year.  Arrowtown and Arrowtown’s Chinese Settlement, the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, Hayes Engineering Works, Otago Central Rail Trail, Dunedin Railway Station, Historic Oamaru, Larnach Castle, Olveston, Totara Estate, Bannockburn Sluicings and the Taieri Gorge Railway are the other Otago sites.

Otago is the second region to become part of the Landmarks Whenua Tohunga programme – a partnership between New Zealand’s Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Department of Conservation and Heritage New Zealand to promote the country’s historically and culturally important places.

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