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Dairy farming around Harbour Cone declined in the early 1900s. The Nyhon family bought out the small farms down in Smiths Gully, as well as the Larnach Model Farm on Camp Road. The amalgamated farms gave the Nyhon family 250-300 acres, with their best road access being at Camp Road, rather than Highcliff Road.
Larnach’s Camp Road farmstead was not ideal for a shearing shed and associated yards as they sit precariously on a small flat section of steep hillside. The small barn was eventually built into two-stand shearing shed around 1910. The back wall had been supported by massive natural posts, which were two stories high, with corrugated iron cladding to protect the supporting bank. Today, the posts are now rotten hollow shells, the cladding sheets dropping off in chunks, and the central roof beam broken in two places.
The Hereweka Trust is in the process of deconstructing the little shearing shed, with detailed recording at all stages. While making his first drawings and measurement of the building, consultant archaeologist Peter Petchey, came across eight wool bale stencils, tucked neatly away on a top plate since the shed was last used in the 1990s. They are an interesting find and provide an insight into the move from dairying into sheep farming.
On a blustery day punctuated by a few showers, students from the Otago University Anthropology Society worked at the Rogers farmstead on Hereweka today. With expertise provided by archaeologist Dr Peter Petchey, the team mapped the byre, barn, house and surrounding farm structures. The largely intact but heavily modified byre has a beautiful brick floor and stalls that would have been part of the Rogers’ family dairy operation. One of the tasks of the Society was to produce a floor plan of this building that would give the Hereweka Trust a better understanding of its historical use.
The work of the Society members is invaluable to the Trust. It provides further insight into the farming activities and the lives of the families that settled and worked in the Hereweka landscape. The Trust are looking forward to having the students visit the area again and are excited about what more they can tell us about this site.
Members of the Trust, Otago Regional Council and Peninsula landowners met to discuss waterway management under the Otago Regional Council’s new Regional Water Plan. The field day was designed to give local landowners an understanding of the plan changes and its requirements. Regional Council staff gave a broad overview of the plan and the reason’s around the plan and how it would affect landowners. One of the interesting aspects of the field day was the demonstration of electric fishing by Pete Ravenscroft. The electric fishing technique allowed trustees and landowners see the numbers of native Galaxiids in a small waterway such a s Smiths Creek. Land and Water consultant Murray Harris also gave an overview of land management practices that assist farmers around catchment areas. Overall, the field day was very useful and gave trustees an insight into future options for the Hereweka property. (Click on the pictures to view full size).
Broad Bay School pupils won the Toroa award at the Conservation Week awards on Tuesday 3rd November. Otago Peninsula Trust chairman Ross Smith presented the pupils with the award, which came with $500 in funding for their conservation project at Smiths Creek. The pupils also won the collaboration of a Department of Conservation ranger, who would help with their project. For three years, the school has been involved with the freshwater creek protection and enhancement project at Smiths Creek co-ordinated by Save The Otago Peninsula (STOP). Each winter they have spent a day or more planting native trees to provide shade and absorb agricultural runoff and slow erosion. In the past two years they have provided their own plants and the pupils are eager to continue their work at Smiths Creek, which has also included monitoring the water quality and aquatic habitat.