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 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bruce Comfort's conversations

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.

Fields of Sunflowers appear around North Otago every year - each year different places are planted to reduce the risk of soil borne disease. Whenever paddocks near the main highways are selected, tourist vehicles in their dozens stop to take photos like this (or better)

No-one stops to take photos after the flower heads have matured and the seeds are ripe, because then they spray the plants with defoliant to make harvesting easy. I call them the killing fields.

All the seed (and were talking thousands of tons annually) is grown by and utilised by TopFlight Seeds

And it all goes into commercial budgie and bird seed mixes for pet birds. Before you crack up laughing, consider that the company is a large and respected one that has a long history in North Otago and which employs a lot of capital and many employees and owns huge tracts of land for their operation.

Half way between the south Pole and the Equator - well if that's correct what is this all about then? Do you know why the two different distances??

I know - it's now up to you to work out the apparent inconsistency.

I thought Id never see that angle of hughes again.My girlfriend was there for 2 years in 77/78 torrance was not as hard to drive to as it is now.People tell me dont even bother coming to visit cuz of traffic

Peter you are not a Panoramio uploader, but you seem to be a comprehensive looker. What do you think of my use of the website to publish??


This Pelton wheel water engine is on the ground floor of the National Mortgage Agency Co building in Tyne Street, (known as The Woolstore) and a nice photo and is another example of the ways in which Oamaru's public water supply was able to provide energy for industry and commerce, between about 1882 and possibly as late as 1916. The building was constructed to a design of Forrester & Lemon in 1881 for Connell & Clowes and functioned as a multi purpose grain store, wool store and general store under their ownership and later the ownership of the National Mortgage Agency Co. This Pelton wheel and another which is no longer there, apparently drove line shafting for rope winches etc. but was substantially installed to operate a grain elevator (a moving slatted timber belt analogous to an up-escalator) for shifting sacks of grain from the ground floor to the top floor of the building, from where the grain was then fed by gravity through seed cleaning, sorting and re-bagging machinery. The wheel is of one of Pelton's (Lester Allan Pelton USA - inventor and patentor) earlier patented designs, showing the split bucket which is the essence of his patent, but manufactured before refinements in the hydraulic performance of the wheels was addressed by himself and others and the now familiar deeply curved double dish bucket with the cut-out which allows for the installation of at least twice as many buckets as this wheel has on such a diameter, was developed. The water engine is marked John Jack Maker Oamaru however I have no further information about that foundry/engineer, despite the fact that they advertised their manufacturing capabilities and a range of imported goods, frequently, in Otago newspapers of the 1880s and 1890s Pelton wheels were much more problematical for the Borough Council to invoice water use, as the consumption was more difficult to measure, than positive displacement machines. The Oamaru Borough Council had, however, designed its public water supply based on extensive use for energy, requiring the designer to provide 300 spare horsepower over and above the provision of water for drinking and fire fighting in a town of 4000 people, and so the water was there and use was encouraged to offset the costs. These offsets were set out very optimistically by both the designing engineer and the Councillors and citizens who were in favour of the huge civil works of the water supply, in justifying the costs of construction and financing.

This is the base casting and crankshaft of a Schmid water motor, one of four such, installed in the Loan and Mercantile Agency building in Harbour Street in Oamaru in 1882.

This was just 2 years after the supply of water at over 100psi became available for use by such organisations. The base castings, cranks and wheels at the base of three grain elevators still remain.

The cost of water to a user was set by The Oamaru Borough Council at 1 penny/1000 gallons and the consumption of such machines was easy to calculate from the rotational speed and the volume of the cylinder(s). That is not to say that there were no disputes between the Oamaru Borough Council and the users!

The water motors at this location were made by R S Sparrow and Co of Dunedin however at this time I have no company records or drawings to confirm how the bronze (gun metal) parts of the water motor would have actually looked. These parts would have included the rocking cylinder, the piston piston rod and its big end bearing and the trunions that held the piston down onto the curved base casting with enough force to keep water leakage to a minimum whilst allowing for free movement of the cylinder.

Gun metal machine parts, like the working components of these four water motors seldom survived the First World War because the metal was in great demand for munitions.


you can see the details of a complete Schmid water motor made as a model.

R S Sparrow.

As well as being quite sought after for the manufacture of sluice (bucket) dredges for gold recovery from the beds of rivers like the Clyde, Sparrows were notable in Dunedin's early industrial history for making the ironwork for the Wingatui Viaduct on the Otago Central Railway, a bridge which was quoted as "one of the finest pieces of work of its kind in New Zealand from Messrs. R. S. Sparrow and Co. of Willis street, and the workmanship does them infinite credit. Dredges, mining plant, machinery, and ironwork of every description, are turned out from the works of this firm, who are also iron-shipbuilders."

It is beautiful viaduct, still in use and in wonderful condition today and images of this very substantial viaduct can be seen simply by Googling "Wingatui Viaduct"

The following notes are taken from a couple of Internet sources.

The Wingatui Viaduct at 197.5 metres long spans Mullock Gully, 47 metres above the stream bed, and is New Zealand’s largest wrought iron structure. Like the other larger bridges on the route, it consists of riveted wrought iron latticework mounted on masonry piers. Given the Wingatui Viaduct’s location in the first 12.5 kilometres of the railway, it had to be completed early on in the construction of this important railway to enable rails, sleepers and other building materials to be carried further up the line.

Even so, it still took six years for the platelaying to be completed to Mullock Gully, in April 1885. This allowed the ironwork for the viaduct, which had been prepared in Dunedin, to be brought into the site. The completed structure was tested on June 24, 1887, using the two heaviest locomotives available and was certified for use.

A very comprehensive set of photos of local lime kilns - I must have a better look around the dales when I'm next in the UK

please look at my photos at ...

I wonder why more people like us don't use the opportunity presented by Panoramio to add a bit of text information about their photos - in my case I'm using the website as a publishing tool.

Regards from Oamaru NZ

Didn't they have water plans? or was this a rupture ?

This is a short section of the 24 inch (600mm) cast iron main pipe laid from the reservoir down the valley of Glen Creek and thence via Eden Street to Oamaru township. The pipe is in remarkably good condition. It is about 28mm thick and was cast in Christchurch by Anderson's Engineering a pioneer foundry which had a reputation for quality innovative work. Pipes of 24 inch (600mm) 18inch (450mm) and 300 mm were made for the project and later some 250mm pipes were laid. In 2011 a section of pipe was exposed and damaged (a fitting broken off) during road works in Thames Street. The pipe was a bare 500mm below road level and most of the network was similarly only buried at a shallow depth, heavy traffic on the roadways having not been predicted in 1880.


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