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Don't Mill Me: The Cruickshank Legacy (Upper Hutt)

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Hidden : 04/05/2016
2 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Don't Mill Me

The Cache

The cache is a camouflaged pill bottle hidden among the roots of an old beech tree at the bottom of a sloping beech forest.

Getting there

Walk under the rail bridge at the end of Cruickshanks Road and immediately turn left. The track is informal and looks a bit murky here; it improves. There are tape and tag markings to help you find the way but the track is quite easy to follow. The initial stage is likely to be a little muddy in winter but not too bad.

You will eventually drop into Cruickshank's water race channel, cross a small stream, and transition swiftly into a sloping beech forest; look to your left and notice the large beech tree. This is the game zone.

The Cruickshank Legacy series of caches consists of:

Cruickshank Tunnel

This series of caches centres around the Cruickshank Tunnel on the original route of the Upper Hutt to Featherston railway line. The 120 metre tunnel passes under the hills that separate Maoribank and Mangaroa and sits in an isolated spot only accessible by an informal bush track. The tunnel, with a gradient of 1 in 35, was built in 1875 and opened on 28 December 1877. It closed 29 October 1955, three weeks after the opeing of it's replacement, the Rimutaka rail Tunnel.

James Cruickshank's mill

Standing beside the underpass at the top of Cruickshank Road you can look down on the site of James Cruickshank's sawmill which he set up in 1852. James landed at Port Chalmers on the "Phoebe Dunbar", and moved north, settling in the Hutt valley and eyeing up the bush around Maoribank and the surrounding hills.

Cruickshank powered his saws with an impressive 30 ft water-wheel fed with water from the Mangaroa river. He excavated the original tunnel for his water race though the hills above, taking advantage of the higher elevation of the Mangaroa Valley on the other side; and the stream was caught in a lake before gravitating to the mill wheel. The western section of the rough-hewn race can still be seen as you approach the entrance of the Cruickshank Rail Tunnel.

The Cruickshank home overlooked the mill and he cleared land for the north end of the township.

Cruickshank sat for some time on the Wellington Provincial Council, was prominent in politics, the militia and free-masonary.

War Games

In the book 'NZ's First World War Heritage', Imelda Bargas mentions that Cruickshanks Tunnel and the surrounding area was used as an arena to train troops during battle simulations;
"One group of recruits defended the tunnel while the other group attacked it. It provided a meaningful stand-in for the real strategic points the men would fight over at the front." The troops were based at Maymorn camp which sat on the railway line just down from Cruickshanks tunnel.

The proposed cycleway

In 2015 Upper Hutt City Council considered a proposal to create a walkway/cycleway from Park St to Cruickshank Tunnel along the original route of the Upper Hutt to Featherston railway line. However, at a cost of $452,000, it was put on the back-burner.

  jojo&dobby  agcnz  Tufty
  MAC 42

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