Road work machinery a century ago

Every week the Dunedin City Council post a bunch of old photos. They provide an interesting window into out past.

Today the focus was on road works about a century ago.

In my living memory heavy fossil fueled machinery has been almost exclusively used, but in the 1920s horse power, steam power and man power were still in common.

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The Public Works Department road gang, working on a hairpin bend at Saddle Hill,
c1928, Taieri County Council Collection.

Steam powered traction engines with rollers on the front.

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Workers with a concrete mixer on lower High Street,
undertaking work for lower Rattray Street development in the 1920s.

Most concrete is trucked in now – I don’t know how long mixer trucks have been used.

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Dunedin Drainage and Sewerage Board ‘Bear Cat’ excavating machine and work horses, c1920.

While petrol (and diesel) engines were introduced about the start of the 1900s horses were still used a lot well into the middle of last century.

I remember in the mid 1960s stopping on the way from Queenstown to Cromwell to watch the use of horses doing hay making on Chard Farm across the Kawarau River (it is now a winery, just on the Queenstown side of Gibbston).

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Workers at recently reclaimed Lake Logan laying pipe as part of
preparations for construction of the 1925 NZ and South Seas Exhibition.

The above view is looking towards what is now Otago Polytechnic.

Lake Logan became Logan Park after the exhibition and is now a sports ground, including the University Oval crick ground, the Caledonian athletics ground, and closer to the harbour is Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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A labourer breaking rock for work on George Street, December 1928.

Manpower is still obviously being used now, but not breaking rocks.

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  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  August 10, 2018

    Fascinating, thanks Pete.

    • It still seems odd that 100 years ago is now in the c.20 and 1/5 of the way in.

      It seems even odder that this years university students were born in the year 2000 (faints)

      • (i>Manpower literally as well as metaphorically – I have never read of women demanding the right to do this sort of ‘men’s work’ at any time. I don’t now hear women demanding equal representation in today’s heavy and dangerous work.

        NB In the 1840s, it was decided that mine work was too dangerous for women and youths, but all right for men.

  2. Ray

     /  August 10, 2018

    Hard for me to judge but wouldn’t be surprised if some of those buildings are still there.

  3. A farmer I know still uses horses on the steep places on the farm.

  4. Pink David

     /  August 10, 2018

    All that construction work and not a single hi-vis vest to be seen. Glorious.