Driving Creek Railways and potteries
Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sun 2 Feb 2014 00:15
|As usual Miss My get's us out of the loop and we had a great day in Coromandel (the town).|
Most of it was spent on the Driving Creek Railways and potteries.
The story behind it is fascinating:
Track laying began in 1975 by Barry Brickell shortly after he established the pottery workshop on a corner of the 22Ha block of land he purchased in 1973. As a railway enthusiast he saw the practical and environmental advantages of having a narrow-gauge railway system through his rugged scrub-covered land to give all weather access to clay and pine wood kiln fuel. Yellow plastic clay derived from the weathering of the old volcanic rocks. The scattered pine trees are self-sown from original pines planted by the early Californian gold diggers of last century. New Zealand's first official gold discovery was made in this district in 1852. Most of the raw materials for the making of terracotta pottery garden wares, tiles and sculpture thus comes from the hills above.
Brickell worked for 15 years and poured a considerable amount of money into railway construction before it was licensed to carry fare-paying public in 1990. This huge gamble has now paid off, while returns from the pottery have been steadily diminishing. A recent move into the tile and brickmaking industry is an exciting new development.
Today, the railway carries more passengers than raw materials because it has become a major and unique tourist attraction. Unlike most other tourist railways, the DCR is newly built rather than being an old, line that has been restored. It is New Zealand's only narrow-gauge mountain railway.
We enjoyed the ride (very steep!) and we enjoyed the surroundings!
While the youngsters enjoy themselves, the adults visit an art gallery....