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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, 2002

Spud Monday

Spud Monday

Spud Monday was observed each year as a special holiday on the first Monday of August. We understood that it was to commemorate the plight of the first settlers who became so near to starvation they dug up their seed potatoes, already planted, to use as food. The eyes of the potatoes were replanted to provide the next crop.

Spud Monday was a unique Nelson holiday which lasted until about World War 2. All shops, businesses and schools closed for the day. It became a tradition for hundreds of people to walk the Dun Mountain Track on Spud Monday, and while many only went as far as Third House, while the hardier ones trudged on to the top of the Dun. Parts of the old wooden railway track, held together with long, handmade nails, were still quite well preserved, as were the many beautifully made dry stone walls that lined the track in places. Nelsonians lost a distinctive part of their history with the passing of Spud Monday.