Diamond Jubilee of the Ohinemuri County 1885 - 1945
Modern and Well Equipped
From records it appears that the first items of plant purchased by the Council were in 1916, when the present steam roller and scarifier and also a motor car were bought, total value £900. In 1925 the plant comprised a steam roller and scarifier, horse grader, motor car, motor lorry, stone crusher and elevator; total value £1585. Due to the extensive work under the reconstruction scheme instituted by Mr. W. Marshall, County Chairman in 1935, the plant at that time comprised the steam roller, two horse graders, power grader, Auto Patrol caterpillar grader, eight trucks, two half-ton trucks, stone crusher and elevator with oil engine, five horses and six drays, tar sprayer, besides numerous wheelbarrows and hand carts, a total estimated value of £3912.
At the present time the plant comprises a steam roller and scarifier, tractor, Auto Patrol caterpillar Diesel grader, two stone-crushing plants (one with oil engine and the other portable), four trucks, half-ton truck, air compressor unit with drills for quarry work, tar sprayer, pile-driving plant, trailer, machine concrete mixer, besides sundry other items, totalling in all a value of £3544.
The Council has its own well-equipped and up-to-date garage and workshop, where practically all repairs and overhauls to plant, big jobs and small ones, are carried out by its competent mechanic, Mr. E. Turton. A large number of sheds behind the Council Chambers at Paeroa, together with the shed at the Waihi Depot, house most of the plant. At the present time the Council is negotiating for a larger and more up-to-date crushing plant for its quarry on Thames Road.
When one stops to think of the large number of items of plant owned by the Council to-day, one cannot help smiling in retrospect to the days of 1915, when the Council owned no plant; even in 1916, when the only items were a steam road roller and a motor car. This road roller is still owned by the Council and has given close on 30 years of excellent service. Alas, for the car, on account of the rough state of the roads in those days and the continuous use it had, its life was short.
Before the purchase of the car, the County Engineer's job of getting about the County was a very unenviable one. The only means of transport available was a horse and a small gig owned by the engineer. The late Mr. Edward Shaw, former County Engineer, would on many an occasion leave the County office on a Monday morning with the gig, a very light single-seater, loaded with gear, and often would not return until the end of the week. The gear would include a level and staff strapped to the sides of the gig, axe, slasher, pegs, a saddle and bridle, blankets, food, a black billy and a camp oven.
As bridges were very few, the job of getting the gig over some of the streams was at times a very tricky one. It may be recalled that in those days the County was double the area it is now.