Riddler's lime kiln - hearth

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Bruce Comfort on August 17, 2011

This is a big deep hearth with a large grate comprised of about six pieces of H section steel like, but not, railway iron. In addition there is a curved steel lintel former under the bricked arch of the hearth mouth but it is non-functional - having just been laid to facilitate the forming of the brick mouth of the hearth, and then left in place. NOTE that the pieces of wood at the sides are remnants of a gate - possibly just recently added to keep sheep out of the hearth - not original. A nicer photo of this kiln in better colour appears at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otago_Peninsula. The other aspects of note is the complete absence of coal in the detritus around and above the kiln and in roadside cuttings, pretty much confirming that the kiln was wood fired and the absence of any fire bricks (or shards) similarly. This indicates that the kiln has not been re-bricked (something that was occasionally done at huge inconvenience when kiln linings got burnt out from long use. This kiln has an excellent lining for the obvious volume of material that has been put through it and it deserves some further preservation work, however it is not owned nor entrusted to any public agency. The landowners are aware of its historic value and are actively ensuring it is not compromised by pastoral activities on their land.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS KILN IS ON PRIVATE LAND AND IS TO BE VIEWED ONLY FROM THE ROADSIDE.

UNAUTHORISED ACCESS MAY DISTURB ANIMALS ON THE PROPERTY AND THE KILN IS DEEP AND DANGEROUS AND NOT FENCED.

THERE IS ANOTHER KILN ACROSS THE ROAD ON RESERVE LAND WHICH IS BOTH LEGALY ACCESSIBLE AND SET-UP FOR PUBLIC VIEWING.

Bruce Comfort on January 18, 2012

Now that I have talked to Helen Fluit I am more confident of the operation of this kiln. There was no association of it with James McDonald.

Because of the sandy nature of the limestone in the band that was quarried, this kiln produced hydraulic lime, that is burnt lime that had the properties of modern cement and which would cure in the presence of water. Helen advises that the main use of the material was for foundation stonework in Dunedin on the salt flats of the southern suburbs where the high watertable meant that soils were almost continuously water logged.

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  • Uploaded on August 10, 2011
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
    by Bruce Comfort

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