Fairlie flaxmill

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

These relic buildings were constructed in (around) 1943 and have remnant insulating materials on them still. I have gathered samples of three types - all of which look like they were applied in-situ in 50mm thick blocks glued (with mortar) troweled into place and then over-plastered, and with faux "block lines" too - you can see these lines in this photo - under the "windows" which are actually access spaces with a floor trapdoor allowing a view down into the retting tanks which of course are full to the roof and sealed and otherwise inaccessible.

I have yet to get hold of the Ministry of Works drawings and specs, but there is (a) granulated cork (b) rock wool and a third material (c) a very light-weight pale grey foamed material that is just like Hokey-pokey. This is the material used on all insulated faces of this Fairlie building


It is not "natural" and is definitely a foamed low density cement very fine sand mixture quite crumbly and fragile but a very effective insulant. It is obvious that experimentation was going on. What looks like concrete block mortar lines is the glue pattern for the insulant - the building walls are concrete. Note that the insulated sections were set-back 50mm so that after insulating and over-plastering the whole wall - including the structural elements around the doors and windows - ended up flat - no "junk job" these mills - well made and well designed and only the serendipity of the after-war recovery of Europe's linen flax industry stood between these mills and another lucrative pastoral agricultural enterprise for NZ.

Show more
Show less
Save Cancel Want to use bold, italic, links?

Sign up to comment. Sign in if you already did it.

Photo details

  • Uploaded on July 11, 2012
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
    by Bruce Comfort
    • Camera: SAMSUNG ES65, ES67 / VLUU ES65, ES67 / SAMSUNG SL50
    • Taken on 2012/07/11 16:19:44
    • Exposure: 0.003s (1/350)
    • Focal Length: 4.90mm
    • F/Stop: f/3.500
    • ISO Speed: ISO100
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

Groups