My guess is that vehicles bearing the unfrozen carcases of sheep were brought by rail into the building and passed trough these hatches, for stacking or first hanging, to men working inside the chambers.
The real significance of the building lies in its innovative use of hydraulic power to drive the Haslam (Bell-Coleman Patent) dry-air refrigeration freezing compressor there. There were changes later to steam power, but initially the slim evidence in existence is that a 137HP reciprocating water engine, made by A&T Burts Dunedin gobbled town water supply water at about 100psi and drove a horizontal compressor. Using water rated at 1penny per 1000 gallons, the water engine exceeded its planned consumption and the contract which was not capable of being rescinded haunted the Borough Council for many decades.
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