Viaducts Against the Sky 
The Story of Port Craig by Warren Bird


The year was 1916. The world was at war. The horrific Gallipoli campaign had been abandoned after the loss of 2700 lives and, as the Great War approached its darkest days, New Zealand observed its first ANZAC day. Tanks were being used in battle for the first time. In New Zealand conscription was introduced, and the NZ Labour Party was formed. The familiar contoured Coca Cola bottle hit the market for the first time. The 1916 census showed New Zealand had a population of 1,149,225 people. There was yet one more significant event of the year, and one that doesn’t usually make the record books: a town was born. Away in an extremely isolated corner of New Zealand’s South Island, bordering Fiordland and beyond the reach of road and rail, the Marlborough Timber Company was preparing to log one of the country’s last significant coastal native forests. Its plans were on a grand scale: to build the Dominion’s largest sawmill, with township, tramway and port facilities to match. Like other New Zealand bush towns, Port Craig comprised the usual colourful mix of hardy kiwi bushmen and their families, and recent immigrants trying to eke out a place in their adopted country, plus a few others whose main aim was to keep clear of the law! In other respects Port Craig was far from typical. Not only was the port home to the country’s largest and most technologically advanced sawmill, but on its extensive bush tramway ran one of New Zealand’s largest tramway locomotives over New Zealand’s tallest tramway bridge – recently the subject of a major restoration project. The bush was worked by the Lidgerwood overhead logging cableway, a first for New Zealand. This same cableway was the inspiration for the ingenious and fascinating flying fox system used for loading timber onto ships standing offshore. The Port Craig venture collapsed with the Depression and became one of New Zealand’s ghost towns. The mighty viaducts still stand, bearing mute testimony to those pioneering efforts. The easily-graded tramway now provides trampers’ access to the magnificent Waitutu Forest, whose significance has been recognised by inclusion in the Fiordland National Park. An increasing number of visitors come to Port Craig each year to walk the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track, enjoy the fishing, the scenery, and explore some of New Zealand’s finest industrial heritage. Never before has Port Craig’s fascinating story been told in a single comprehensive and well-illustrated publication. This volume, with its many illustrations, technical details, and wealth of personalities and anecdotes, will provide the ideal reference for the historian and tramper alike.


Tragedy, Trials And Troubles At The Bank
Mill Workings
Bush Workings
Town Life
School Life
Incidents And Accidents
The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track And The South Coast Walk
The Waitutu Forest
Shareholders Of The Company

Soft cover 230x180mm 130 pages

$34.70 + GST
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