Brakes Please !!

While at Bannockburn, Nigel and I took a drive down Bannockburn Road and I said to him “I think this is the road that leads to the old stone woolshed, opposite the Nevis road”. And sure enough we came around a bend and there was the woolshed.

This woolshed is a very interesting structure with an equally interesting history. I have copied the following paragraph from a NZSouth web page about the Cromwell District:

“KAWARAU STATION WOOLSHED – Bannockburn Road, Bannockburn. At the junction of the Bannockburn Road and Nevis Valley Road, a short drive from Bannockburn, stands a remarkable stone woolshed which can be viewed from the road. Kawarau Station pre-dates goldmining in the area and was once a massive run. It was the centre for life in Bannockburn in the late 1860s when its mining population peaked at about 2000 people. Wagons coming down the steep Nevis Road dragged massive stone slabs behind them to check their descent; these brake-stones were later re-used to build the woolshed.”

There’s a short excerpt of text titled Wagoners Negotiate Steep Declivities that describes exactly how the wagoners would extract and then use a piece of schist rock as a brake stone for their wagon when coming down the VERY steep Nevis Valley Road. Years ago Nigel and I drove up to Duffers Saddle at the top and I can assure you the road up the hill is very steep with lots of tight bends !!  According to Wilderness Magazine Duffers Saddle is 1173m “the highest point on any public road in New Zealand”.

Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand

Kawarau Station Woolshed

The first photo was taken by me. The other three photos, with closer views, were taken by Nigel. All photos taken 20 April 2018. Woolshed with ladder.





Text by Liz, Photos by Liz and Nigel; Exploring Colour (2018)



7 thoughts on “Brakes Please !!

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  1. This story reminded me of a logging road in northeastern Minnesota called the Heartbreak Road so named because of its steep incline and twists that caused more than a few loads of timber to fall off the trail as they were being hauled out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was certainly using your head instead of your back. Very clever use of the rocks and stones already at the bottom of the hill resulting in a beautiful building. Although it must have been back breaking during the construction. Thank-you for sharing these lovely photos and links.

    Liked by 1 person

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