BACK IN THE DAY WITH LAKES DISTRICT MUSEUMhttps://theflyer.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/EL6083-Arrowtown-Skating-Rink.jpg20001342The Flyer MagazineThe Flyer Magazinehttps://theflyer.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/EL6083-Arrowtown-Skating-Rink.jpg
Ice Skating and Arrowtown
‘The town was slowly going to sleep…’
By the early 1950s, after two world wars had taken many of Arrowtown’s young men and many others were moving away to find work in the cities, the population of Arrowtown dwindled to below 200 residents and half of them were pensioners.
‘Visitors to the town at the weekends were rare. The town was slowly going to sleep.’ (Morven Ferry farmer- Alan ‘Hammy’ Hamilton)
In the winter of 1954, word was spreading that the nearby town of Cromwell had built an ice skating rink. What a great idea!
An Olympic-sized skating rink was planned, a deal was done with the then Arrowtown Borough Council for water from the town supply and a skating club was formed. A bulldozer was borrowed and Alan ‘Hammy’ Hamilton, Jack Reid, Jim Wilcox, Bill Hore and others, worked to clear an area on Nairn Street. The tap was turned on and the rink was filled with water.
“Now we had to wait for Jack Frost to get cracking.” (Alan ‘Hammy’ Hamilton)
When the skating rink was opened in 1954, people flocked to it and it was the beginning of a new and exciting way to spend the cold winter days in Arrowtown.
There was a pot-bellied stove to help keep people warm and once power was installed, lights and music provided a magical place for a spot of night skating.
Cribs (small holiday houses) were built along Nairn Street to be close to the skating rink and Arrowtown became a perfect holiday spot for winter as well as summer.
Arrowtown hosted figure skating competitions, speed skating competitions and The Arrows Ice Hockey team had its share of success.
Courtesy of Lakes District Museum
Ice skating in Arrowtown, 1960’s style. Photos: courtesy of Lakes District Museum.