Landon Creek - the middle aqueduct

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Bruce Comfort on September 30, 2011

By far the most impressive artefact of the race still extant is this lovely aqueduct across a gully and small unnamed stream which discharges into Landon Creek.

It has both timber trestles and limestone piers and the limestone blocks were quarried from a small outcrop at the base of the pillars. Cut by hand saw and bolstered (chipped to make them look rounded and natural on the faces that show) the quarry has just one "spare" block in place. Frugal workmanship.

The timber for this aqueduct is a mix of Kauri, Australian hardwood and Rimu, and of course the box fluming - now all replaced, would have been 8"x2" and possibly 8"x 3" long timbers with pitch all over the outside and all over the trestles.

In 1880 nails were generally made by hand. Some of the nails used in the race aqueducts can be found in the pieces of the Kauri planking which still survive around the Waitaki District in sheds, culvert, garden edges and pig-sties. They are big and square in cross section with button forged heads. Some will have been 150mm long. Wooden dowels too, seem to have been used and lots of steelwork which shows all the signs of hand forming and with holes cut with drifts whilst hot (hot punched) is to be found around the bases of the dismantled aqueducts.

This spectacular aqueduct jets out from a limestone escarpment on the upstream end and the first set of limestone piers are founded on one of the benches of that escarpment. The creek runs between that set of short piers and the first wooden trestle and is some 4 metres below the foundations in a limestone gorge. The trestle looks a bit "ragged" and is certainly not in its original condition - repairs and modifications seem to have been made to it. Then there is a set of tall limestone piers and another short trestle. Along the top of the piers and trestle is a railway iron tie beam - this too is certainly not original and the original structure would have had considerable amount of big timber in the flume support structure. The top of the extant aqueduct being half round steel is pretty much self supporting whereas planked box section timber fluming is not and the whole thing would have been much more bulky at the top. There are just a few photos I have found of the original box culverting (elsewhere on these pages) and they show the huge timbers and complex structure needed to keep 30 or 40 tons of water suspended 20 metres above the ground!

What has survived of the lower structure is in reasonable condition, however this aqueduct would have been most spectacular when it was first constructed.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on September 26, 2009
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
    by Bruce Comfort

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