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Starting back in 1991 the Cavalcade was brought about to re-enact the Gold Rush era where every able bodied man left their jobs and headed for the hills in search of gold. The trails back in 1862 were basic if at all. Accommodations were an over-hanging rock or a canvas tarp and food was damper and boiled mutton if you were lucky.
These days our focus is on that wilderness environment with the most basic of transport (foot, horse or bike) and accommodation (tents, woolshed or community hall floor space) but we have up’d the anti on the food quite a few notches!
In 1880 the Hawea area saw one of the last gold rushes in Central Otago. Three prospectors (Jones, Fitzgerald and Price) reported payable gold in what was then known as Panama Creek or Long Valley. They were reported to have obtained 16 ounces of gold per man over a period of nine weeks. By July there were 120 men in the valley and by August perhaps as many as 300. Not all of them were miners; by August there were 3 stores and a butchery. Later, Richard Cayford opened the Panama Hotel and store. Long Valley had been known earlier as Panama Creek, after a boundary rider who always wore his sombrero. “However the gold was patchily distributed and the deeply entrenched valley meant there was little ground available for mining.” Finally by the winter of 1881 the mining population was 2 and the Long Valley rush was over. Cayford moved his hotel down to the lake outlet.
Taken from ‘A PRETTY GOOD PLACE TO LIVE’ By Barbara Chinn.
There are 11 trails this year – 4 horse-riding, 2 Wagon, 3 foot and 2 cycling trails. All trails start from different places and end in a Grand Parade, markets and entertainment at Hawea on 2nd March.
Entries open for members October 1. Non members from November 1. Book your time off work and clear all other commitments now!
For galleries of photos from the previous Cavalcades click here. To get an insight into one of the walking trails see the youtube clip here (Click)
If you cant make it onto a trail you should still get to Hawea for the grand parade and days entertainments – always great fun and well worth while!