It was with an immediate eye on the skies above on Sunday morning that members of the Society started their day. With all of the planning and worrying seeing it dawn beautifully fine and clear took away any of those feelings of apprehension. This was our big day to share and celebrate with Dunedin the Amenities Society’s 125th Anniversary, and what a day it turned out to be. With over 520 people undertaking the Traverse it was great to see the many happy faces that enjoyed exploring one of Dunedin’s very special places. The Traverse attracted a broad mixture of people of all ages and the fine conditions allowed the Town Belt to really shine.
The five stopping points all proved a welcome respite for walkers with something of interest at each point. There were snow dogs at Byrd’s Unity Park Antarctic monument, cable car enthusiasts at the tramway site in Robin Hood Park, the cool elegance of the grounds of Olveston and some inspirational poetry at Charles Brasch’s site “The Clear” at Prospect Park. None of these things would have been possible without the generosity of many people who gave up their time to keep people safe, informed and entertained. To all of those people the Society’s sincere thanks for your time and energy. All of these areas added to experience and understanding of the Town Belt and made our anniversary a day to remember.
At the Woodhaugh Gardens finish line participants were able to relax, enjoy their lunch and reflect on their achievement of a walk well done. This was also the opportunity for a short speech from the Society’s Chairman Robin Hyndman and a welcome piece of anniversary cake. It was also an opportunity for our youngest participants to plant a Kahikatea tree in the Woodhaugh grounds. This is particularly important for the Society as we think of the future of the Town Belt, our city and our organisation. We must cultivate a new generation of young people who are passionate about Dunedin and its environment. As Society co-founder Alexander Bathgate once said “If you plant trees you do an unselfish act. The benefits are not yours alone, but are in a measure common to all. You are not likely to see the trees you plant attain, their full strength and beauty. You are then, not working for yourselves, but for others, including those who are to come after you, and are doing a generous and public-spirited action.” With the numbers of young people and children we saw on Sunday the Society is heartened that this new generation will take up that challenge.
The Town Belt Traverse was a resounding success and an event that could become part of the regular calendar. It celebrates not just an old an venerable organisation like the Dunedin Amenities Society but one of the great reserve areas of our city. Something that we in Dunedin should cherish and be proud of because it defines our city, our landscape and our heritage. Thank you to all who participated and created a great day for the Society and themselves. The pictures below are from Antony Hamel, click on the pictures for gallery view