Kauaeranga River reveals logging history
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionA set of wheels off an old tramway bogie used to transport logs down the Kauaeranga Valley in the long gone kauri logging days has been unearthed in the bed of the Kauaeranga River.
Date: 11 February 2010
A set of wheels off an old tramway bogie used to transport logs down the Kauaeranga Valley in the long gone kauri logging days has been unearthed after revealing itself in the bed of the Kauaeranga River.
A team from the Department of Conservation, including archaeologist Neville Ritchie, retrieved the wheels from their resting place in the river bed using picks and shovels and a small digger. A log bogie is a robustly constructed trolley consisting of two pivoted wheel-pairs. They were used to transport logs on tramways. The small bush locomotives used on the Kauaeranga tramway usually hauled five huge logs each trip with a bogie at the end of each log.
A hunt is on now to find the other set of wheels. “It is possible the bogie ended up in the river after a derailment further up the line,” said Mr Ritchie. If the other set of wheels can be found; the bogie will be reconstructed before it goes on display at the Kauaeranga Visitor Centre. In the interim the wheel-set that has been recovered will be cleaned up and conserved in preparation for displaying it.
The wheel-set is a tangible link with the past. By the late 1920s most of the kauri had been logged and the logging infrastructure was abandoned but there are still many interesting kauri-era relics for visitors to see in the Kauaeranga Valley including remains of driving dams, the sites of the log booms, the Billy Goat incline, the Webb Creek staircase and a skid road for hauling logs through the bush.
The Kauaeranga tramline was begun in 1913, suspended during the War, and completed in 1920. The rails were uplifted at the end of operations in 1928.