Print
Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 8, October 1967

May I comment on Mr. Les Morgan's article in your No. 7 issue where he deals with the old Waitawheta tramline.

I was only a small boy at the time but I understand the line was built to bring firewood in enormous quantities to dry the quartz for the old dry crushing system. There were several big circular pits near the top of the hill above the battery and firewood and quartz were dumped in layers. After the wood had been burned the quartz was removed to the stampers through a short drive. It had been brought from Waihi and taken up the hill on a steep tramline having 3 rails except for section half-way up where there were 4, so that the descending empty trucks aided by the weight of logs could pass the rake of quarts trucks.

On one occasion it was said to run away. I used to watch the log trucks being marshalled at the top of the incline across the valley from where we lived, and was a bit disappointed when they were safely let down to the battery. When dry crushing ceased the big break drum was shifted up the hill and the line was used solely for logs from Waitawheta.

The Mining Coy. had a big sawmill about midway between its office and the battery bridge. My father, the late Arthur Wylde as a servant of the Coy. used to apply to the mining Warden for claims such as "Calorific", etc. over land where he had located suitable bush for firewood.

Many years later The Kauri Timber Coy. took over the tramline from near the top of the Owharoa falls and built the connection to the Govt. railway near the old flag station at Owharoa. I remember this being built past the old Owharoa school which I attended, and also going for picnics on flat top trucks up the tramline which ran through dense bush from near the top of the falls and passed Franklin's farm.

Walter P. Wylde, Paeroa