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Bruce Comfort on October 5, 2011

Even with its new steel and concrete deck this dam and weir is evocative of the early use of mass concrete - a phenomenon that seems peculiar to New Zealand.

Here in New Zealand the use of concrete for domestic and rural construction work preceded its general uptake in Great Britain, where modern Portland cement was actually first manufactured. Cement was imported into New Zealand in the mid-late 19th Century in wooden barrels until the first cement factory of any size and with rotary kilns was built in Northland by Nathaniel Wilson in 1900.

Prior to this and from about 1883, Wilson made Portland cement in conventional draw kilns - vertical lime burning kilns, of which he had about 20.

The history of concrete is comprehensively covered in Cast in Concrete by Geoffrey Thornton from which book these notes have been taken.

According to the current owners of Elderslie Estate the weir is mass concrete as are the weir abutments, but the central piers are fabricated limestone structures plastered with cement plaster.

Bruce Comfort on January 5, 2012

NOTE: IN COMMON WITH MOST PHOTOGRAPHED OBJECTS ON THESE WEB PAGES, THIS STRUCTURE LIES ON PRIVATE LAND AND NO RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO THE SITE OR LOCATION ARE IMPLIED IN THE PUBLICATION OF THESE IMAGES.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 1, 2011
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
    by Bruce Comfort

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