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 guyro@slingshot.co.nz AND I WELCOME INPUT INTO THIS WORK -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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This view of the kiln shows a fireplace built into the buttress wall on the East face above the hearth. Immediately below the fireplace is a set of sockets built into the stonework. These sockets appear on all three faces of the buttressing and they were clearly for a floor - a small piece of floorboard is still wedged into the stonework.

This was the Lime Burners one room "hut" Access must have been by a ladder.

The roof over the hut was possibly corrugated iron and the whole hut served as the shelter for the unloading bay where material was scraped out of the hearth for subsequent cooling crushing and slaking up the hill.

Relics of Lime Burners' and Quarrymans' accommodations can be found at other kiln locations but this built-in facility is charming and also indicative of the value that the limestone resource represented in and for a city where the most substantial buildings were being built from stone.

That value is also reflected in the very sturdy construction of the kiln, its condition after possibly 50 years of use and the huge volume of material quarried to feed it.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS KILN AND THE QUARRY AND LOADING OUT BAY ARE ALL ON PRIVATE LAND AND ARE 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.

This small loading-out bay is just downhill to the East of the kiln hearth, away from the area where sorting might have taken place (to remove and discard improperly calcined lumps of limestone) just in front of the hearth (and probably "indoors" - under the shelter of the floor of the lime burners accommodation hut which was built between the two buttress walls) It was connected to the kiln by a short tramway with iron rails which is still apparently there, but buried under overburden now. Small trolleys ran on the tramway and would have been pushed and pulled by hand. The calcined stone was then taken by horse drawn dray to the crusher some 400 metres up the hill towards town.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS KILN AND THE QUARRY AND LOADING OUT BAY ARE ALL ON PRIVATE LAND AND ARE 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.

An area for tipping, concrete foundations and a concrete floor with the remains of other construction components, confirm the local knowledge (Mrs Helen Fluit) that this was the site of Riddler's crushing plant. Calcined hydraulic lime clinker is harder than burnt lime and generally required mechanical crushing before it could be used. The slaking of hydraulic lime was more complicated than the production of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) from pure burnt lime and space was needed for heaps of material in the various stages of slaking. Production involved crushing and two treatments with water which needed to be undertaken with skill to retain the maximum reactive power of the hydraulic lime whilst at the same time removing any "ordinary" burnt lime which was in the mix. Hydraulic lime was delivered to construction sites as a powder ready for incorporation with sand as the mortar for stone and brick works where the air curing of ordinary slaked lime mortar was not possible.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS SITE - LIKE THE 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.

This elegant band tensioning device employs two opposing wedges operating against each other in a forged socket formed by loops at the two ends of the band. There is also a "feather" which would have been driven in to lock the device tight. There are two bands (in three pieces) one above the other with the tensioning sections displaced, around the top of the kiln furnace. They are disposed around the outer furnace wall which is made from ordinary bricks. The space between the inner furnace lining and the outer furnace has a row of bricks (making three layers visible at the top) but it is unlikely this interposed layer extends down the kiln and it is more likely that between this outer wall and the inner wall of firebricks is a cylinder of quarried material probably hand crushed and packed tightly to retain the shape of the furnace. This furnace stands proud of the bank behind it and the quoin blocks at the outer extremities of the wing-walls at right angles to the buttress walls, still show that masonry now gone extended both left and right to hold up the fill behind them and forming the working platform at the furnace mouth. Not being built into a bank or excavated from native rock at a cliff edge as many were (see my photos of the 1000 Acre Road kiln for a small kiln located entirely within native rock and fully excavated) exposes this kiln to the effects of the outward acting forces which are exerted when working it - particularly the expansion forces as the load heated up. These forces need to be resisted mechanically. There is no reason to suppose that there are not more ranks of bands like this, around the furnace tube, extending right down to its base although the large buttresses which are the most visible elements of the kiln will be taking some of that load at lower levels. http://www.panoramio.com/photo/57105098 shows these bands clearly - one has corroded through. The kiln may have upwards of 40,000 bricks in it, if its construction is as I have outlined. These industrial "machines" required much forethought as to their location and construction if they were to run profitably. Mrs Helen Fluit who has lived locally for some time advises that the kiln was last fired in 1938 and although at this time we don't know when it was built if we assume 1890 this is a 50 year life - not bad for something so basic in its construction.

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.

The mouth of Riddler's kiln. The tensioning bands are visible and the fact that erosion and slumping has caused the two retaining walls below to disappear means that there is no flat land around the top of the kiln. In its working life this would not have been how it looked and an extensive area of flat would have been available all around for the operators (Lime Burners)to have walked around the top and tipped in the loads of stone and wood which the kiln used on a continuous basis when it was being fired. Worked in this mode, the kiln will have been classed as a Draw Kiln There was a steel lid apparently (it has corroded and fallen down into the furnace) and this shows that at least on some occasions the kiln worked in batch-wise mode as a Clamp Kiln.

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.

This is the Langdon kiln, operated until about 1911

This photo, copied and enhanced a bit here, is at the Staveley Geological and Historical Museum, which has a very good display of local industry and the community surrounding the area which was associated with and to some extent depended on commercial mineral deposits. The wooden trestle bridge has a group of visitors and workmen and a small trolley is visible. This tramway bridge lead to the coal mine which was about 300 metres away. To the left of the photo is just visible a similar but shorter bridge with rails also, along which the stone was brought.

The timber corral at the top of the kiln made good sense as workmen up there were otherwise exposed to a fall.

This is one of possibly only two "freestanding" kilns of this type in New Zealand, the other being McDonald's kiln on Otago Peninsula.

The burnt lime had to be hauled up the slope at the bottom right of the photos where a roadway was being built when this photo was taken.

How the operators of the Phoenix Mill would have loved this!

In this and the previous photo, the trace of the two water races feeding the Phoenix Mill can be seen. At the top right where the small white (pump) shed appears is the breast of the earth dam that impounded this branch of Oamaru Creek. The dam is now non functional and has been breached but it is visible in Google Earth about 300 metres upstream of this shot.

The second race was put in when the new wheel was installed but the overarching problem with the mill was the ephemeral nature of the creek. In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, North Otago had a dry climate (that seems to have changed) and droughts were common and devastating. The mill struggled to process grain of course at the time (mainly)at harvest which was the driest part of the year. Successive owners persevered but the mill eventually closed in deference to steam powered mills in Oamaru township. As far as I'm aware there was never a water powered mill in town (water powered as in utilising the 1880 public water supply - See The Borough Race photosets)

This is a very old quarry site and its size indicates that. The Silica gravels have their origin in a fresh water lake and river system of which there is now no geological record - the source being so far back in time that New Zealand has changed its shape and profile from the inexorable grindings of the Pacific and Indo-Australian plates which we straddle.

This pic is included in the Pastoral and Cropping tag series because the gravels are comprised of nice rounded smooth stones and sands and they find extensive use for roading material and are particularly valuable for the "cow lanes" - the internal roading systems built by intensive dairy farms in the area for moving their stock around the farms between various paddocks and to and from the milking sheds. Although these lanes take up a substantial area of otherwise valuable grass-growing land, they are economic in the longer term by enabling cattle to get around without tracking mud and destroying pasture and the rounded stones are easy on the animals' hooves. There have been numerous smallish coal mines in the locality too, not great coal but it has been of value to the development of North Otago for some 100 years. No coal is currently mined, however Holcim (a Swiss cement manufacturing company) has all the consents it needs to build a million ton per year dry process cement factory here and they have coal reserves of 50 year extraction fully mapped.

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