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South Island

New Zealand facts & history in brief               New Zealand Map


was a township, a coalmine and of course the legendary 'Incline', once upon a time.
I should have really started with the coalmine and the township where the people or miners and other service people lived and the incline, many called it the eighth wonder of the world.

All my life I have been fascinated by trains, trams, practically anything that moves, mechanical, clever and good looking.
After my arrival in New Zealand in January 1957, I've seen and heard many films, documentaries, stories and news items about Denniston and the famous incline.
Unfortunately I didn't get anywhere near to it until 1980.
The mine was gone, so was the people and only the rusting rails were left of the incline.
On the plateau was a derelict capstan assembly for the cable cars.
The township was pulled apart by souvenir hunters.
I managed to seat down in one of the old buses, still in the garage, badly vandalised.
The 'Incline' of the great technical 'wonders', now represented only by the rapidly deteriorating tracks in the bush.
It started life in 1879 carrying or plummeting coal from the Denniston plateau, the famous Coalbrookdale mines, 1700 feet down on grades as steep as 1 in 1, to the West Coast ships and trains, for more than 88 years.
It utilised the never sleeping, never tiring, ever available energy of gravity.
The full wagon of coal hurtling down, pulling an empty one up and switching to a by pass loop in the middle with an occasional, spectacular runaways and smashes.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

Denniston Denniston Denniston
Denniston Denniston

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