Australasian Engineering Heritage Conference
Dunedin, New Zealand
Engineering in a 2020 World
pre-pre-Conference tour
November 2020
Click here to register interest

The Engineering New Zealand Otago Heritage chapter is hosting the next Australasian Engineering Heritage Conference in Dunedin between Sunday 22nd and Wednesday 25th November 2020, preceded by a 3-day pre-Conference tour.

A call for papers is now open, full details: https://www.engineeringnz.org/our-work/heritage/australasian-engineering-heritage-conference-2020/

In line with previous Australian and New Zealand Conferences, Heritage of Industry is working with the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch chapters of Engineering New Zealand to create a pre-pre-Conference tour of Engineering and Industrial Heritage sites to run immediately before the pre-Conference tour and Conference to add value to an event which is a long way from home for those of us from the Northern hemisphere!

The pre-pre-Conference tour will probably be about 12 days in duration. Some ideas are now emerging of sites which may be included:

Auckland taking in points of engineering heritage interest, Museum of Transport & Technology, trams, aviation, coastal defences etc.

Auckland to Rotorua, gold mining at Thames, stamper battery, deep well mine pumps at Bella Street, historic bridge at Kopu, open cast mining at Waihi, agricultural show at the Agradome (with a great display of the development of sheep breeds), BBQ evening dinner at a historic kiwi bach at lake Rotoiti

Rotorua to Turangi via some scenic and heritage sites: Waiotapu thermal reserve, Aratiatia power station (sadly cannot be entered by the public now but the rapids are spectacular), Wairakei geothermal field and volcanic visitor centre, Huka Falls

Turangi to Wellington via Turangi information centre and display of hydro station development in the area, National Park for viewing the Raurimu spiral and Makatote viaduct on the main trunk line, Tangiwai (rail disaster site due to the Mount Ruapehu crater lake failing) Desert Road, some other sites in the lower area such as flood control and flax industry.

Wellington, see around the capital city generally - with some highlights: the Wellington cable car, the Karori dams and wildlife sanctuary, the Old Government Buildings, and an example of retrofitted base isolation.

Cross to South Island via Ferry

Blenheim: Omaka Aviation Museum Centre, Lake Grassmere: Salt Works

Coastal Road to Kaikoura restored road rail structures & sea views

Reefton – First electricity, Visitors centre, Blacks Point Museum 

Westport – Coal Town Museum, Denniston Plateau

Charleston Bay - historic port & town

Greymouth – Historic bridge, flood wall, mining memorial, railway station, wharf cranes

Brunner Mine – West Coast Coalfields – from 1864, Shanty Town

Kumara, Gold dredges, town history

On road to Arthurs Pass: Taipo Valley Road Piers; Otira Gorge Road, viaduct, lookout.

Arthurs Pass – Otira Tunnel, Board train to Christchurch – 16 tunnels, Waimakariri River gorge & bridges, with train commentary.

Christchurch: 2h walk in central city – including earthquake history 70% central city lost. Tram ride, Historic buildings tour, Ferrymead / Lyttelton time ball, rail tunnel, Canterbury Museum

Christchurch: to Bankside, Rakaia (longest bridge) – Mt Somers (Rangitata Diversion Race), Geraldine, Fairlie, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki (Mt Cook), Hydro electricity canals, Twizel – display, Omarama, Cromwell Clyde Dam, Kawarau Gorge (Bridge 1880), Arrowtown (old gold town)

Queenstown for the start of the Engineering Heritage New Zealand pre-conference tour

Dunedin for the Engineering Heritage New Zealand Conference

It will be 11 years since Heritage of Industry was last in New Zealand and this promises to be a very special event. Register interest now to hear more as plans develop.

Below are the introductory notes as supplied by Engineering Heritage New Zealand:

The conference focus will be on heritage engineering or technology which has endured, undergone development, restoration and re-purposing to claim its place in the future. It’s a theme that aligns well with the story of the Otago region of New Zealand.

Situated at the remote southern end of New Zealand, Otago is bordered in the west by the southern Alps and in the east by the Pacific Ocean. Abundant natural resources supported a population of Maori who were joined by small numbers of European sealers and whalers through the early 19th century. Scottish settlers founded the city of Dunedin in the 1840s and in 1861, gold was discovered in Central Otago, fuelling a further influx of migrants, supercharging the region’s economy and creating a demand for engineering infrastructure which has not been seen since. Our distance from other manufacturing and industrial centres necessitated both local ingenuity and industrial capacity. Times change, but some things endure — Much of our past has a future.

Three of New Zealand’s largest construction companies were incorporated in Dunedin – two of these well over 100 years ago. The entirely Dunedin-built steamer Earnslaw still plies Lake Wakatipu after 106 years of service. A vast network of water races built to provide water for gold now carries the water which irrigates much of the Central Otago farmland, while Dunedin City has just finished the overhaul of a 151-year old water supply dam. Dunedin’s economy is increasingly underpinned by its considerable ICT resource and even this has strong links to the past. A 105-year old Engineering Company has become a world leader in assembly line and meat processing technology. Once a staging postf or exported wool and grain or imported goods, the city’s re-purposed warehouse precinct now houses companies creating real-time animations for globally televised sports events such as the Americas Cup or Masters golf, building fine instrumentation for the life sciences, or creating genetics management software for farmers.

The Future of the Past. This conference theme not only fits our region, it provides a platform for a wide range of papers across the full spectrum of engineering and technological endeavour in what promises to be an engaging and enlightening event.


8th May 2019