Saturday, 15 August 2015

Ida Valley & the Cheat's Rail Trail- Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1...

Not far down the road from the Idaburn Dam is another historic site and one that has more significance that most to us. This is Ernest Hayes workshops and homestead, a family business dating from 1895.

Ernest Hayes Engineering holds a prominent position  in New Zealand’s agriculture history as a producer of a large range of innovative agricultural tools and equipment that were sold nation and world wide.

Ernest Hayes inventions include fence wire strainers, the Hayes Wire Strainer was once (and no doubt still is) a competitor of the Wirelok, a wire strainer that David developed and produced during the 1980-90s. David Evans Wirelok Ltd went on to sell over 1 million units before we sold the business. The Wirelok is still manufactured and sold in NZ and exported overseas. We quite often come across Wireloks holding fences together on our travels.

And as David once said in his speech, while accepting the ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ award, for the Bay of Plenty Business of Year Awards (not for the Wirelok but for our Devan Water Tank business) “It is said that behind every man is a good woman, but sadly that is not the case with me” After a few murmurs and a dramatic pause, he went on to say, ‘No she’s not behind me, she’s right up there beside me” And he called me up to help accept the award. Given half the chance I would have disappeared under the table. Hannah Hayes was obviously one of those ‘good women’ too. (click on the photo to enlarge).

Hayes Engineering Works is closed during June & July but while we were checking out the buildings the manager arrived (the complex is managed by the Historic Places Trust). He offered to show us around but we declined and said we’d be back in the summer when we could see some of the machinery working, stay over in the front paddock/come carpark- it’s another NZMCA POP(park over property) and have a coffee at the cafe.

Just down the road from Hayes is Oturehua, another small deserted settlement with a memorial hall, an old restored hotel and the historic Gilchrist’s General Store, operating since 1902.

An unusual Memorial Board featuring photos of the local men who served in both the World Wars sits beside the hall. Rather than the usual a list of names, their faces really bring it home that these were real men who left to fight for their country.

What! Another church? A little further on along the road and another church appears. This is the Oturehua Presbyterian Church and even though it looks rather neglected, the colour scheme, the bell tower, the roof flourishes and tiny port hole window makes it look like it belongs beside a dolls house.

We finally turn onto the main road and head back towards Omakau on the way to completing a large loop…

…we pass below the snow covered Hawkdun Range and Idaburn Hills which are now a lot closer.

We still have time to stop at an old abandoned farm homestead and what a beauty it is, with  leadlight windows and a wide veranda to keep that hot Central Otago sun out; it’s such a shame that it’s been left to deteriorate…

…and right next door are a collection of ramshackle farm buildings and these grain silos with their wonderful colours and texture.

A few more historic buildings and hotels along the way; from top left- an old stone cottage at Hills Creek, the ‘new’ White Horse Hotel at Becks, with the old (very old) White Horse Hotel lower right. Centre right is the Lauder Hotel with the old Lauder School (now Cycle Trail accommodation) centre left. And finally, bottom left is the Oturehua Hotel (which really should be back up there with the store and church.

And finally one last stop at the NIWA Atmospheric Research Station not far south of Lauder. A rather random point of interest in an otherwise old and historic area. From their website-
Clear skies and geographical isolation makes the station perfect for observing atmospheric chemistry and radiation. The station specialises in measuring CFCs, Ozone, UV light levels and greenhouse gases and has a wide range of world class instruments.
World-class climate and ozone research by scientists at NIWA’s Lauder Atmospheric Research Station has been recognised by meteorology’s leading organisation in Geneva, making Lauder the fourth upper-air site in the world to be certified by the global climate-data network. There are approximately 20 staff working at our Lauder research centre.


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