Karangahake School and District 70th Jubilee 1889-1959

Always an important feature in the settlement of any new country, roads, fords, bridges and gorges have been a major concern to Karangahake. Motoring on the excellent tar-sealed highway of today, one is apt to overlook the engineering feats of yesterday.

To take just one instance, when the Gorge Road was being put through by the Ohinemuri County in the 1890's — with a minimum of mechanical aids — workmen were sometimes suspended in cages over the steep cliff faces and "blasting" in such circumstances must have been extremely difficult. (One is reminded of the story of a workman at another spot, holding up the traffic when such work was in progress. The armed gold-escort from Waihi happened to come along and hearing the command "Stop! I'm shooting!" they raised their arms but pleaded "Don't shoot man!").

During the slump of the 1930's when hundreds of men were unemployed, the Main Highways Board, which had operated since 1924, decided to widen and seal the Gorge Road. During this period traffic was diverted over the Rahu Saddle, which proved a severe test to all vehicles, especially buses. (During this period J. Forrest had the contract for carting the last prospector's "diggings" to Golden Dawn Battery at Owharoa, and it was mostly done at night, the truck driver being Harold Moore). However it was worth all the inconvenience to have at last a first class highway, which since 1936 the Ministry of Works has maintained; the work since 1954 being under the jurisdiction of the National Roads Board.