Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cromwell, New Zealand
It is situated between State Highway 6 (linking to Wanaka, 50 km north, and Queenstown, 60 km west) and State Highway 8 leading to the Lindis Pass, 75 km northeast, and Alexandra, 33 km south. The road to Alexandra winds through the Cromwell Gorge.
In 1862 gold was discovered at the river junction, leading to the arrival of thousands of miners. After gold became scarce, the area became a centre of pastoral farming and stone fruit production. The latter is commemorated with the giant sculpture of stone fruit which stands outside the northern end of the town.
Cromwell formerly lay at the confluence of the Clutha River and Kawarau River, which was noted for the difference between the colours of the waters of the two rivers and also for the historic bridge at the convergence of the two.
Since the construction of the Clyde Dam and the filling of Lake Dunstan in the early 1990s the river confluence was drowned, as was the old town centre. In preparation for this, approximately one-third of the town was rebuilt on higher ground, including a new bridge, town centre, college, and civic amenities. Several of the old buildings of the town which escaped the flooding have been retained as a historic precinct close to the shore of the Kawarau.
According to the 2001 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings, the permanent resident population of Cromwell was 2667, an increase of 54 since 1996.
Nearby settlements are at Bannockburn, Lowburn, and Ripponvale.
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