National Library Exhibition about Mining Town Life

‘Cast in light: life in a mining town’ is an exhibition currently showing at the National Library in Molesworth Street Wellington until 6 July. It is a snapshot of life in the remote gold-mining town of Waiuta, near Reefton, in the early 1930s taken by miner and photographer Joseph Divis. Those who are outside Wellington can view a selection of the photographs here.

The exhibition raises some interesting issues for historians. The photos are taken at the height of the Depression, usually portrayed as a miserable period with widespread poverty. But Waiuta was quite an island of prosperity – it was a company town, everyone had a job, and there was money around.

On Thursday 16 May at 10am there is a Curator’s tour, which includes a screening of the documentary JOS, which tells the story of Joseph Divis. More information and how to register can be found here.