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Endeans Mill- Waimiha and Black Fern Lodge    9 February, 2020

Eighteen happy Wanderers set off on a beautiful sunny day for Endeans Timber Mill at Waimiha in the King Country on this grade 1 trip .  

Two local worthies met us at the mill site to show us through the ruins, once they had collected our entry fee. From the road the whole place appeared to be a wasteland as the state of dereliction could not be exaggerated.  However, in the local community hall we were shown a video taken of the mill when it was still operating, and this inspired a modicum of interest in seeing inside the main building, which had not completely fallen down. 

Inside this main building proved to be very interesting, as most if not all of the original machinery was still intact although in a dreadful state of repair.  The most interesting and delightful item was the original huge steam engine which powered the whole milling operation from the 1920s to the 1970s, when the plant was finally electrified. As for the rest of the ‘relics’ these would be best bulldozed into a heap and buried as deep as possible!  

After lunch at the hall it was off to Black Fern Lodge. This was a most refreshing and wonderful haven on the banks of the Ongarue River.  Here the owner, Mark, gave us an illuminating talk about the lodge and its visitors who came for various local activities. 

From the lodge a short walk along the riverbank brought us to a spot where we were able to feed bread that had been left by Mark to a number of voracious trout and a large eel.  Further on we came to a most magnificent waterfall which plunged into a huge pool.  This was the turning point of our trip, so we returned to the vans and headed home, arriving back in Hamilton at 5.45pm.

Many thanks to Val and Keith for a really lovely and successful day in the King Country

Roger McG

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