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 line drawing shows the working components of a Schmid reciprocating self-valved water motor. These motors were of Swiss design and few complete motors survive as the moving parts were all made from machined cast gunmetal and this material was in such great demand for munitions during the First World War that all such sources were "mined" and exploited. Patriotic churches on both sides of the conflict would have donated church bells for use by their respective British or German arsenals, although it has been said that in the British Commonwealth countries the Lutheran Churches had their bells confiscated!

What is not shown in the drawing is the trunion and the mechanism which held the oscillating cylinder down onto the semicircular shoe - a system of levers and adjustable screws which maintained enough pressure to keep the device moderately water tight whilst still allowing it to "rock" without absorbing too much energy. The machines did leak and all working engines will be mounted on a base which can collect the run-off and direct it to drain.

Here is an You Tube video of a similar water engine working

Inside Hor Dai Chun. Electricity, a couple of houses with telephones, no running water and no toilets (one toilet for the whole village)

The small building made from river stones was the house of our great great grandfather.

There are not many ways a whim can be configured and I guess that one made by any competent foundry and engineering shop would look like one from anyone else, but these do bear a close resemblance to whims from the Elswick works of Sir William Armstrong and considering that the hydraulic network was established as the business of Armstrong was peaking in Tyneside UK and that the Harbour Board purchased Armstrong hydraulic cranes from the UK in the early days (to be confirmed - as I haven't examined the Board files in archive) it may be that these are Armstrong whims. No marks were visible to me on my first inspection.

Shed 21 was a wool store and dump (a descriptive term for the place/facility where wool which had arrived in bales from farms at a modest density was re-packed to minimise shipping volume).

Most sheep farms had screw presses to squeeze the wool into tight bales, but the density was capable of being increased at least twice and often three times by pressing two or three bales together in a facility which had hydraulic machinery. These facilities were located at just a few export ports around New Zealand and Wellington was the collection and export point for nearly all the wool that was grown in the North Island from The Manawatu and The Wairarapa.

The building had travelling gantry cranes and was fully open to the roof (a three story high space) It is now in three floors and partitioned as apartments.

The faceted tower held one of the two hydraulic accumulators on the Harbour Board network. It is clear from what remains that the weights that were driven up by the hydraulic pumps went (traversed) the full three floors and that they (or it) filled the whole void of the tower, the guide rails are on opposite faces and wear on the guides extends to nearly floor level. The implication may be therefore that the hydraulic cylinder was sunk entirely below floor level (3 stories down) and that it may still be in place under the new concrete floor of the tower which has been converted to a stair well.

The logo comprises a Dolphin and Crown and an Anchor on a blue ground.. Heraldry buffs will have a "proper" way to describe these symbols!

The motto "Union is Strength" reflects the turbulent past of the Harbour Board I think - it grew out of necessity but it had a difficult passage!

The most comprehensive and beautiful book about Wellington Harbour is WELLINGTON HARBOUR by David Johnson ISBN 0 9583498 00 and this link will take you to an interesting 70 page guide to the harbour.

This building has the rope and whim hoisting apparatus seen in other pics under this tag. The building has an NZHPT (Historic Places Trust) Category 1 listing and it is really the most visually attractive and significant of the surviving WHB buildings on Wellington's waterfront. It is now (2012) the HQ for MOJO'S a coffee importing and cafe franchising business and under the guidance (one must presume) of Lambton Harbour Management and The Trust, Mojo's has converted the building by erecting another modern building inside it - freestanding and very elegant, without compromising the old building in any way. An example to other developers and heritage advocates of a good way to prosecute adaptive reuse.

The two whims that drive the hoisting system are on the walls just beside the big cart-dock doors effectively running up the back of the pillars with the bollards at the base.

Partially drained in 1992 (you can see the old water level in the difference in the vegetation on the exposed banks) because there were grounds to suspect that the concrete arch dam was not capable of withstanding a moderate earthquake, the Upper Karori Reservoir is part of the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary a large [225 Ha] urban bush area enclosed by a predator proof fence.

Built 1871-1872 this earth dam incorporated the very best practice. It had a puddled clay core for which a pug mill was imported and used, and it had no "breaches"

Following the experience of the failure of Bilbery Dam in the UK, this dam had no culvert through it at its base - not even a de-watering sediment scavenging pipe. The only breach is a high level sluice at its Eastern end - used in advance of predicted flood flows to drop the level. The spillway over the crest and the wave protection barrier are both concrete (normal practice was for the upstream facing (wave protection) to be rip-rap but Wellington city has no hard rock sources or quarries (still) the nearest then being at Horokiwi in the Hutt Valley. All of Wellington's accessible rock, including in the valley of the Kaiwharawhara Stream is deeply oxidised and weathered Greywake which is soft.

The valve tower access footbridge jets from the East embankment and not from the dam itself as would have been much more commonly seen.

If you look at this Panoramio photograph by the very productive Eva Kaprinay

you can see the two reservoirs in their beautiful native bush setting, and so close to Wellington City.

The Upper Karori Reservoir is partially drained - exposing half the height of the upstream wall of the dam. Its water surface is now at 160MASL and it would have been at about 180MASL when it was operational.

The Lower Karori Reservoir (pictured here) has a water surface at just on 150MASL and this has always been its operating height.

Before the dam was completed in 1878, water from the Kaiwharawhara Stream (which the two dams impound) was sent through a short tunnel into the Aro Valley to a holding reservoir (now filled in) and water was piped into the city by 1874.

The use of flowing water, in streams and rivers, to power machinery and replace human and animal power in agriculture (grain milling and irrigation) and processing (spinning, weaving and other activities where rotation energy was needed) is as old as civilisation, however the utilisation of the fall in rivers and streams was generally dependent on the processing facilities being located at the river and at the place where the fall (the drop = waterfall usually) actually occurred.

So we see the famous river mills of the UK, such as those along the River Severn, being built right beside the natural waterfalls. Even if a dam or some other impoundment was required to increase the flow or capacity of the river, the impoundments comprised only low bunds or small stone dams.

The technology of dam construction was not as well developed as the technologies of the mechanical devices spawned by the Industrial Revolution and Karori's Lower Reservoir and dam is a very early example (worldwide) of a properly constructed waterproof and durable dam, built in response to some notable dam failures in the UK - one of which, the Bilbery Dam failure of 1852 in which 80 lives were lost, set the pattern for properly engineered work of this type.

It is interesting to contemplate the fact that we couldn't build safe earth dams in the 1850s and yet British engineers were capable of building durable and spectacular canals which had the need for water tight embankments and suspension bridges and aqueducts to speed the flow of goods and services around Britain by the 1790s!

On completion, and once water was piped into Wellington City, the town had access to clean water in almost unlimited volume (or so it seemed at the time) and at a pressure that must have been in the range of 100 -150psi. With the reservoir surface at 150MASL the theoretical water pressure in the supply piping at sea level would have been roughly 250 pounds per sq inch. Pressure reducing valves must have been fitted?? to make the mains pressure safe and protect the pipe works from damage, but I haven't researched the details of the network that was installed.

When the Lower Karori Reservoir was built, people were already utilising the power of the Kawharawhara Stream and in fact a grain miller low down on the run of the stream successfully sued the Wellington City Council when he lost his run-of-the-river water supply/flow, but in general and world wide, the power of flowing water was what was harnessed in all devices and systems to extract energy from rivers and streams.

All the devices that were used, such as water wheels and most of the things we now class as turbines, needed water flow and water at significant flow, to extract power from natural or modified water bodies. When early water power engineers looked at a river, even one that was steeply graded and although the height difference between the top (high regions) of the river and the bottom (lower reaches) was obvious and obviously the "source" of the river's energy (through gravitational fall which was well understood since Newtons work in about 1665) they didn't see pressure in a stationary water column of the same differential height, as a source of energy.

It was not until the work of Sir William Armstrong in the 1840s that this potential was realised.


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