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The History of the Molesworth and Rainbow Stations

Where: Marlborough Museum, 26 Arthur Baker Place, Blenheim, Marlborough

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $5.00
  • Door Sales Only
  • Additional fees may apply

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  • NZ drivers licence or passport
  • First instalment paid today
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Part of the Marlborough Historical Society Winter Series. Due to Covid, this event has been rescheduled for 29th November 2020 at 2 pm.

Presentation by John Orchard. This presentation from passionate expert local historian John Orchard includes the history and geography of these iconic features of our heritage.

From the 1850s the main inland route between Nelson/Marlborough and North Canterbury ran through the heart of Molesworth. The old cob accommodation houses at Tophouse, Rainbow, Tarndale and Acheron are reminders of this. The stock routes never subsequently became public roads and throughout most of the 20th Century, Molesworth remained terra incognita to the vast majority of New Zealanders.

Molesworth today is an amalgamation of four separate pastoral leases - Molesworth, Tarndale, St Helens and Dillon - abandoned to the Crown between 1938 and 1949 because of rabbit infestation, stock losses in disastrous snowfalls, and economic recession. Molesworth has remained in Crown ownership and gradually recovered from its earlier desolation, thanks to extensive rabbit control and over-sowing of some 37,000 ha in the 1950s and 60s.

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