Bruce Comfort
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I'm a retired engineer. I ride a 400cc Suzuki Burgman motorscooter and I live in Oamaru, South Island of New Zealand. I have two adult daughters. My interests (if you haven't worked it out) include New Zealand's heritage of engineering works, snapshot photography of the built environment and recording pastoral farming activities around here. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PLEASE NOTE THAT MANY PHOTOGRAPHS ON THIS PANORAMIO SITE HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY ACCESSING HERITAGE BUILDINGS, STRUCTURES, AND ENGINEERING ARTIFACTS WHICH LIE ON PRIVATE LAND. PUBLICATION OF PHOTOGRAPHS ON THIS SITE DOES NOT IMPLY ANY PUBLIC RIGHTS OF ACCESS. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT A FEW PHOTOS ON THIS SITE ARE NOT MINE, AND THAT MANY ARE TAKEN INDOORS AND ARE OF MACHINERY AND THAT THIS APPARENTLY CONTRADICTS THE TERMS OF USE OF THE PANORAMIO WEBSITE. I HAVE HAD THE SITE MODERATORS' APPROVAL FOR USING THE SITE THIS WAY AS ALL SUCH PHOTOS LINK IN SOME FASHION TO MY OWN PHOTOGRAPHS OF PLACES IN NEW ZEALAND WHERE ARTIFACTS OF ENGINEERING OR PASTORAL OR INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE CAN STILL BE FOUND. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MY INTENTION IS NOT TO USURP THE RIGHTS OF THE HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHERS NOR OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS, AND CREDIT IS GIVEN WHERE I CAN. I have made an endeavour to contact copyright holders of material published on these pages and where appropriate, permission is still being sought for these items. Where replies were not received, or where the copyright owner has not been able to be traced, or where the permission is still being sought, I have decided, in good faith, to proceed with publication. I would be happy to hear from copyright owners at any time to discuss usage of item. IF YOU GO TO THE PLACES WHERE MY OWN PHOTOGRAPHS HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED BY THE MODERATORS TO BE IN THE PHOTOS LAYER ON GOOGLE EARTH, MY HOPE IS THAT THE OTHER HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHS (which will not have been accepted by the moderators of Google Earth but which appear on these pages) WILL STIMULATE YOU TO THINK ABOUT THE ENGINEERS, ENTREPRENEURS, INVESTORS, THE WORKERS AND OPERATORS AND ALL THE PEOPLE, NOW GONE, WHOSE LIVES WERE INEXTRICABLY TIED TO THESE PLACES AND THESE ENDEAVOURS. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MY E-MAIL ADDRESS IS AND I WELCOME INPUT INTO THIS WORK -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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This material (the basalt outflow from Mt Horrible which is endemic around Timaru and visible at a number of places as lava cills) lines this reservoir. The blocks are split rough blocks mainly cubic but very variable (see pic 66199693) and have been impact fractured or split with wedge and feather. Although the basalt has no structure it will break to produce flat faces in most cases, in the hands of a good stone cutter. Even through the haze of seeding rank pasture grasses the carefully laid blocks can be discerned. Given that the block shape and size varies (as evidenced by the harvested stone) you can see how skillfully fitted the blocks were to minimise movement after filling and contamination by clays and silt.

Despite these reservoirs having obvious historic and civil engineering significance and possibly despite them having Historic Places protection (not sure when that was conferred) rock from the North West corner of the No1 reservoir was harvested by the Timaru City Council (details to be confirmed) for use in the harbour before they were "tumbled" by someone and made to bring the rock back - where the five truck-loads were unceremoniously dumped at the rim of the bund. The only upside of this appalling vandalism being that we can now have a good look at the stones and get an appreciation of the work involved in cutting and placing them.

A rough estimate of the number of blocks needed to line the reservoir up to its original height will give you about 122,000 blocks. This assumes the floor is lined which I did not confirm from the drawings.

These large earthenware pipes are the overflow from the weir in the No2 reservoir.

This is one of the few in-reservoir structures that is not plastered, so it may have been erected after the construction period around 1910. It is a small weir with overflow falling vertically into pipework that is buried in the bund - so some sort of overflow must have been constructed at this place as the bund was built up - it may have been an open vertical tube - these are notoriously less efficient at spilling water than a horizontal weir.

The rim of the bund is up just 600 above the weir - sufficient to have "caught" most but not all of the waves on the surface if the reservoir was full on a windy day!

Before 1910, water would have entered the reservoir via gravity, and via the exit end of the race, probably directly below this point by some 5 or 6 metres. By increasing the rim (bund height) of the reservoir, its whole dynamic design would have been changed - water almost certainly would not have been able to enter the reservoir without massive reconstruction of the race, however at this time (1910 approximately) the race was piped from its source at the Pareora River and may (no research) have even been sourced further up the river and thus blessed with more head at the same time. Timaru's current town water supply is piped from that upstream point at this time.

The water from the pipe appears to have just been discharged down the slope of the reservoir without any special protection.

Looking upstream from Ardgowan road onto the last section of the race before it enters the reservoir reserve. The tunnel entrance is in the blackberries at the right edge of the picture and the concrete diversion system is in the middle of the frame.

Some idea of the extent of the easement (land acquired by the Borough Council on which to locate the Borough Race) can be gained in this picture. The black hut is modern.

Note also the extent of the concrete works for this important facility. Before the water was even filtered before being sent into Oamaru through the reticulation system, let alone treated! the control of water quality depended very much on the vigilance and work of the Reservoir Raceman at this diversion.

As an aside, the diversion of water into Mill Creek would have been of benefit to the operators of The Phoenix Mill (see photo No.57210209)

Looking downstream to the upstream portal of the short tunnel (in the scrub) which runs under Ardgowan Road. Within the reservoir reserve there is about 140 metres of race before the water enters the reservoir. To the right in this photo, water could be discharged to Mill Creek and was, whenever the race was delivering water which was below acceptable standards. The raceman who looked after the reservoir and a few km of race upstream from here, lived at the reservoir in a very modest 3 bedroom limestone block house which still stands. This structure included two sluice gates and a screen to remove (entrap) sticks and branches that were swept down the race.

This is probably the original 1880 concrete structure as designed by McLeod. The slots for the main diversion gate can be seen but the gantry, threaded shaft and screw and wheel that operated the gate has gone. To the right, dirty water was discharged to Mill Creek. The gate slots in the diversion are filled with concrete and the operating screws and wheels have gone.

The view is downstream looking towards the entrance portal of tunnel 6 just 20 metres away in the blackberry.

This wonderful photograph (courtesy Helen Fluit who lived just across the road from the kiln relics for many years) shows the kiln during a firing. Much can be discerned even from this poor picture. The quarry is quite small compared to its size today so the photo will have been taken early in the kiln's productive life. It ceased operation in about 1938. The "wing walls" which, by their extant condition might be supposed to be remnants of a larger supporting stonework structure, are clearly all that was ever built, leaving the question of what the extended quoin blocks were ever for? The lime burner's hut "cottage" up above the roof of the unloading/sorting shed is either gone or not yet occupied. It is hard to imagine the fireplace and floor joist sockets having been created after the main stonework was built so the conclusion might have to be that it (the hut)had been abandoned for space in the sheds at the quarry face. The kiln (furnace) mouth has no flat land around it (see picture) and as this would have been a problem during operation, that is cleared up by this photo which shows a wooden (circular) platform around the furnace mouth propped off the stonework below. The unloading and sorting shed is connected by a branched and partly elevated tramway to a covered bay where the clinker was loaded onto wagons for the 800 metre uphill trip to the crusher on Highcliff Road. Railway irons are apparently still visible in the soil and the stonework for the loading bay is pictured and still in good condition. The large sheds at the quarry have no clear function. Such sheds are never usually seen at a quarry but one may have been for a breaker to size the limestone. Given that this kiln produced hydraulic lime (effectively a "cement mortar" that would harden in the presence of water) one shed at least might have been used for sorting batches of raw materials - a batch needing both siltstone and limestone as well as fuel. Helen Fluit advises that coal was the fuel - carted in as back load from Dunedin when burnt lime was delivered to town. And, apparently, the main use for the finished production of this kiln was the mortaring of foundation stones for many of Dunedin's large buildings where the water-table was so high that the ground was permanently damp. That makes a lot of sense. Helen Fluit's husband Con was an amateur historian of the lime kilns and he gathered a lot of information about the kilns (of which there are three and a small prototype/test batch kiln) in the Sandymout gully.

The tower of this mill - probably just prior to it being demolished. It was a cap mill (tower mill) of nine stories. There is not much written hard data about this mill, neither its machinery nor operation. There is evidence that it was not efficient and that the owner subsequently installed steam power - but there are no obvious remnants of that enterprise visible. Water for the steam engine was raised from Oamaru Creek some 70 metres below, via a ram pump, for which a small dam and sump were constructed and reported on in the Oamaru Mail This photo shows the main shaft in place and the framework of the fantail. The two courses of extant blocks can just be discerned above the pasture grass.


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