On Sunday May 3rd our group visited Nelson College. We were keen to see what memorabilia was held by the oldest secondary public school in New Zealand.
Our journey began at the Scriptorium, an impressive memorial building erected by the Old Boys of the college after World War II to honour those who took part in that conflict.
In the entrance floral tributes still remained following the observance of Anzac Day. Inside in a central position was a painting of one of the school’s greatest war heroes, Group Captain Leonard Henry Trent VC. He had been a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III, participated in the Great Escape, was recaptured almost immediately but because of his immediate surrender was spared execution. Fifty of his comrades were not so lucky. After his return home he saw further action during the Suez Crisis.
However, the man whom we had really come to see was a local boy – Ernest (Lord) Rutherford who also attended Nelson College. The story of a Brightwater boy who from humble beginnings came to be a peer of the realm through his discoveries in nuclear physics is displayed on a succession of panels, which toured the country in 2002 and is now attached to the wall of a corridor in the science block We hope to produce: first a tourist brochure highlighting all the places in the area which are connected with Rutherford and perhaps later a booklet which contains the information on the panels.