Ever really thought about Dunedin in the early days, well maybe not so far back as when it was known as ‘Mudedin’ but before electricity and whatnot? Back then, gas was the power currency and the Dunedin Gasworks began way back in 1862, first powering about 20 or so ‘gas standards’ or lamps like you see outside the Otago Settler’s Museum. It soon expanded to providing the power for lighting, heating, cooking and industrial needs, peaking in the early 20th Century (when electricity gave it a run for its money) and finally closing in 1987. Just think that there is over 300 miles (I’ll translate later) of gas pipes still under the ground in Dunedin!
The Dunedin Gasworks Museum has preserved a large part of the machinery that used to run the gasworks and not only is it the only one in New Zealand, it is one of only three gasworks museums in the world, and the only one that has the original machinery running! As well as just being really cool in having running steam machinery from the past couple of centuries, it also serves to demonstrate the physics of steam machiner and the chemistry of gas, which first came from coal, and then petrolium oil from the 1960’s onwards. Did you know that aspirin comes from coal?
So come along (and be very warm!) to the Gasworks Museum and immerse yourself in living history. It’s open today from 12.00-4.00pm, I’ll be making pikelets on an old gas stove (which is pretty hard to light!). It will also be open during the Science Festival Tuesday 06th – Friday 09th July, from 10.00am – 12.00pm.