Blackball

Blackball

Not far from Greymouth is the little mining village of Blackball, famous for its hotel called the “Blackball Hilton”. 

 Blackball Hilton

More correctly, after an IP dispute with some other hotel chain also laying claim to part of that name, it’s name is now “formerly the Blackball Hilton”.

 Blackball Hilton

Blackball is a fascinating place with quite a history. It still has a large working coalmine, the Rua mine, so my walk along the main street was interrupted quite a few times by large trucks roaring past. 

 Blackball

It was a bitterly cold, grey day. I thought my images of Blackball actually look much better in monochrome so I’ll switch to B&W for most of them.

Some of the cottages along the main street were of the classical New Zealand design (note the satellite dish):

Blackball

Blackball

 While I was taking these, this young kid rode past on his bike:

Blackball

 We exchanged a few words. “Are you looking forward to going back to school next week?” I queried (it was school holidays at the time). “Yes, whoopee!” was the reply.  ” Really?” Then came the punchline, really impressive from a 9 or 10 year-old: “you really don’t understand sarcasm do you!”  I had to admit that I didn’t, just then. I think he’ll go a long way.

Blackball is a real working man’s town.

Blackball

Next door to the Blackball Hilton there was a really interesting exhibition.  Blackball was for a long time the heart of radical unionism and socialism in New Zealand. The workers included people such as Bob Semple, who became Minister of Works when the Labour party came into government in 1935.  The current Federation of Labour has its origins around here. 

A couple of repainted shipping containers with a canopy stretched between them displayed posters explaining a lot of this history. Fascinating stuff!

Blackball

(I couldn’t show that in B&W, could I?)

Here are some extracts:

Blackball

Blackball

Blackball

On the drive back in Greymouth, I could still see evidence of the industry that used to characterise this whole region: a gold dredge working.Blackball

1 comment

Hey these are some really amazing pictures of Blackball, I live here, so seeing these pictures reminds me that blackball isn’t always so dull and boring.

Also, I know that young man in the photo, he’s much older then you think. I believe he is coming on 15 this year. Although everybody seems to think he is much younger.

Again. I love these photos. Made my day.

~Dragon

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