KARANGAHAKE the years of the gold 1875 -1935
Up Turner's Hill the teams would labour,
And waggon wheels a'creaking turn;
Each horse pulled nobly with his neighbour,
His ears a—twitch for orders stern.
Twas long before the way was graded,
Rough metal sparked on iron shoe,
Or mud in mane and tail was braided,
As sweat poured down and nostrils blew.
Gigantic plant the mines were needing,
No railway then to bear the load;
So pump and crushers, weight impeding,
Were all conveyed by arduous road.
In highland country wild and broken,
By towering cliffs and gorges deep,
Prospectors found the golden token,
Where gleamed the quartz in mountain keep.
Then rider, tramp and teamster travelled
The winding trail to Mackaytown,
Or pitched their tents at Karangahake,
Near "Woodstock", "Talisman" and "Crown".
Soon houses clustered on the mountain,
Though miners' lives were often brief.
Yet mutual aid rose like a fountain,
Bringing blessings, easing grief.
So, warm of heart their friendships rounded,
And generously they lived their day,
Till sudden, final note was sounded —
The great machinery idle lay.
The mining population dwindled,
The busy township now is gone,
And chimneys where the fires were kindled,
Have crumbled down like cairns of stone.
But some still love Ohinemuri,
Are faithful to the wild haunt's code,
Waitawheta in flooding fury,
Or peaceful, gracious Rahu Road.
The labouring horses toil no longer,
To haul the loads up Turner's Hill,
But pride in pioneers grows stronger,
As phantom teams turn wheels at will.