I SALUTE THESE GALLANT MEN, WHO CARVED OUT OUR FUTURE WITH THEIR BARE HANDS..WAGON TRAINS COMING FROM THE WHARVES AT PAEROA THROUGH WAIKINO IN THE MAGNIFICENT KARANGAHAKE GORGE NORTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND, TO THE MINING TOWN OF WAIHI-MARTHA GOLDMINE THE LARGEST THEN GOLD MINE IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE. ALL GOODS HAD TO BE BROUGHT BY SHIP FROM THE NEW COLONIAL CITY, AUCKLAND, THEN BY WAGONTRAINS THROUGH THE KARANGAHAKE GORGE TO THE VARIOUS MINING SETTLEMENTS ALONG THE WAY, KARANGAHAKE, WAIKINO ETC., THEN ONTO THE MINING SETTLEMENT OF WAIHI..THE PRESENT HIGHWAY WAS STARTED IN THE 1880'S TO FORM A DEVIATION OF THE MAIN THAMES-TAURANGA ROAD VIA KARANGAHAKE AT THE ESTIMATED COST OF 1400 POUNDS. IT WAS A LONG HAZARDOUS PROJECT WITH THE WORKMEN DANGLING LIKE FLIES ON THE SHEER CLIFF FACE, SETTING CHARGES WHICH BLASTED HUNDREDS OF TONS OF ROCK INTO THE RIVER BELOW. ANYONE. WHO TRAVELS THROUGH THIS HISTORIC AREA, CANNOT BE UNTOUCHED BY THE GHOSTS OF YESTERYEAR, THE HARDY MINERS AND THEIR FAMILIES, THE SHEER HARD WORK AND GRIT OF THESE EARLY SETTLERS IN A STRANGE AND SAVAGE LAND..AT A LATER STAGE A RAILWAY TRACK WAS CARVED OUT OF THE TOWERING CLIFFS OF THE GORGE, WITH PICKAX AND SHOVEL PLUS NO DOUBT A BIT OF DYNAMITE......A MAGNIFICENT BRICKLINED RAILWAY TUNNEL, WAS LAID BY MASTER CRAFTSMEN THROUGH THE LOOMING CLIFFFACE..THIS TUNNEL THOUGH CLOSED TO TRAINS CAN BE WALKED THROUGH AND ADMIRED TODAY, ON HISTORIC THE KARANGAHAKE WALKWAYS...NEW ZEALAND.
Martha Mine exTommyknocker!
KARANGAHAKE is over shadowed by a towering peak which gave the area its name. GOLD was discovered here in the 1880'S and three mines were opened in the mountainside, They were THE CROWN, THE WOODSTOCK AND THE TALISMAN, the last named mine yielding over 3million ounces of gold and silver bullion before it closed in 1919. Here stood the township of KARANGAHAKE 85 years ago, part of it encroaching on the river flat which now serves as parking and picnic area. There were nine boarding houses and two hotels, on on each side of the river. The TRAMWAY HOTEL, established in 1880, was a two storied building with 30 rooms .This mining settlement had five butcher's shops, four general stores, four drapers, and a variety of smaller shops that catered for every need of the community....fresh milk was delivered every day, and a Chinese greengrocer kept the town supplied with fresh vegetables from his garden.There was also a sawmill, a coachbuilder, and a coach company which stabled 120 horses and employed 28 drivers and stable hands. Despite the very hilly nature of Karangahake gorge, the miners laid out tennis courts and bowling greens where they and their wives spent a great deal of their leisure time
THE MAGNIFICENT BRICK KARANGAHAKE RAILWAY TUNNEL WHICH SPANS THE HISTORIC KARANGAHAKE GORGE AND KARANGAHAKE WALKWAY WHICH TAKES YOU PAST THE DESOLATE RELICS OF THE VICTORIA BATTERY, MEMORIES OF THE MINING ERA OF THIS AREA..photos courtesy of Eddie van den Broek,.
BY HORSE AND COACH THROUGH THE BEAUTIFUL BUT HAZARDOUS KARANGAHAKE GORGE, THE THEN ONLY MEAN OF TRANSPORT FROM PAEROA TO THE GOLDMINING TOWSHIP MINING TOWN OF WAIHI..THIS AREA IS STEEPED IN NEW ZEALAND MINING HISTORY, HEAPS OF OLD RUINS AND HAUNTED BY GHOSTS OF YESTERYEAR, THERE IS IS A VERY POPULAR WALKWAY , A MUST FOR ANY TOURIST TO THE WAIHI MARTHA GOLDMING AREA .
THE HISTORIC WAIKINO HOTEL, THE OLD AND THE OLD....HARK TO THE CRACK OF THE RAW HIDE WHIP!
HAURAKI DISTRICT COUNCIL.
HISTORIC WAIKINO RAILWAY STATION WHERE DELICIOUS HOMESTYLE BAKING AND EXCELLENT ESPRESSO IS SERVED AT THE WAIKINO STATION CAFE, THERE IS ALSO AMAZING PHOTOS OF THE OLD MINING DAYS, FASCINATING RAILWAY AND MINING MEMORABILIA TO LOOK AND MARVEL AT, BEFORE THE NOSTALGIC RETURN JOURNEY ON THE FAMOUS GOLDFIELDS TRAIN TO THE WAIHI STATION WAIHI- MARTHA GOLD MINE. TOWNSHIP...
COPYRIGHT PHOTOS H.G. BLOMFIELD 2008
THE QUAINT GOLDFIELDS STEAM ENGINE, THIS LITTLE ENGINE PULLS HER SMART GREEN CARRIAGES PROUDLY ALONG WHAT REMAINS OF THE OLD KARANGAHAKE RAILWAY, TO THE HISTORIC WAIKINO RAILWAY STATION, A NOSTALGIC RIDE DOWN MEMORY LANE, WHERE ONE CAN EXPLORE THE BEAUTIFUL KARANGAHAKE GORGE AND THE FASCINATING RUINS OF THE WORLD FAMOUS VICTORIA BATTERY.
COPYRIGHT PHOTO H.G.BLOMFIELD.2007.
14-10-03 Most excellent news for WAIHI GOLDFIELDS STEAM TRAIN! A $12.000 grant from ENDEAVOUR TRUST, has saved the unique BAGULEY DRURY locomotive, one of only 3 that came to NZ in 1960's as hydraulic tunneling machines.
UPDATE 2007..I have since moved out of this region, but part of my heart stays.....wrapt in memories and nostalgia of long long ago...