13 March, 2011

Telephone line to the lonely Nevis

The famed Nevis Valley is now all but deserted.  It was not always so.

To get into "The Nevis" you have to drive right up over the Carrick Mountain Range and down the other side.  1300 meters (4000 feet) straight up then down on a quite minimal road. 
1150 Meters (3400 feet) straight up. 
There was/is a lot of gold in "The Nevis" and a gold rush in the 1860s with hundreds if not  thousands of miners.  A long period with 600 or so Chinese miners and later periods of gold dredges, those marvels of Victorian technology, working the river flats.

But few live there now and only about two people stay over on the cattle stations when the snow comes in the winter

There were no trees at all in this landscape when people first came.  So the sole telephone  (telegraph?) line was mounted on the rock outcrops which so typify our local mountains.
Telegraph line.  No Trees mean no poles.  So use what you have.
You can see how steeply this goes up.
 The rocks were there and worked.  Who needs timber poles? 
Wises         "Directory of every place in New Zealand 1912" has the entry.
"NEVIS, Otago. A mining settlement, 175 m north-west from Dunedin. Rail to Clyde, then coach via Cromwell and Bannockburn 20 m, thence by mail buggy bi-weekly (Monday and Friday) in summer (15s), returning following days; or rail to Garston, thence coach weekly (Friday) 20 miles (15s). Large areas have been taken up for dredging purposes, and six dredges are now working. Sluicing is also carried on to some extent. There are also first-class coal deposits showing here. One hotel. Roads bad. Telephone and post office.  Doctor at Cromwell, 25 m"
The top
There is no telephone to the Nevis now.  There are not enough people.
Down to a lonely valley


  1. Elephants Eye -- At the top you have captured an exceedingly beautiful woman's face in silhouette. The hair is a bit OTT tho ;~)

  2. Those photos look remarkably like parts of Spain or Morocco. One half expects a Kiwi Don Quixote on a spavined nag tossing rugby balls at those huge rocks. I expect the Dulcinea's are few and far between.

  3. Spain I thought. But Morocco, theres a thought. Must go and look.
    Dulcinea ? Well in this area you would expect THE PERFECT WOMAN. Gorgeous creatures - truely - who can ride a bull, use a shootgun, pilot a helicopter, drive a bulldozer, pull beerbottle tops off with teeth, and plant a fencepost. And often you will find they have a degree in ethnobiology etc etc.
    There is even a perfect woman contest. Google it.

  4. Like Vince, the photos remind me of Spain too. Lots of "empty" open space, beautiful views. Seems well back in time. Jack

  5. Especially the last photo reminds me of the wide open spaces of the Mojave desert in California. What are those spikey plants?

    As for the perfect woman? In our family there have been unspoken tests required during the courtship, such as climbing a mountain, riding a motorcycle or moving to another state. Only after marriage are these revealed as reasons the spouse was chosen.

  6. The spikey plants are the The golden spaniard (Aciphylla aurea)
    Often known as wicked spaniard or dirty spaniard these are dangerous plants. Not - Not - Not a good idea to fall from your mountain bike on those. The spikes are sharp and the leaves are rigid.
    Even strolling past they seem to have the habit of being closer than they seem. And you stab your leg. Possibly seriously.
    I have often wondered about the name. Perhaps it comes from the peninsular wars. Duke of Wellington etc and refers to those dirty spaniards with their swords.

  7. I'm here directly as a result of Sue Langley's wonderful write-up on you and your blog.

    She wasn't exaggerating when she mentioned the quality of your photography. As a first time visitor, this introduction to your blog is awe-inspiring. Such vast (and obviously remote) spaces and I love those huge boulders.

    Do the residents at least have cellphone reception? Otherwise, I could not imagine being so isolated from the rest of the world!

    Off to explore a bit futher now :) As we also live in wine country, it will be interesting to see and read about your vineyards :)

    BTW Your header picture is absolutely gorgeous! It's the kind of picture chocolate boxes of old used to have on them :)

  8. No ordinary cellphones there. And the old landline there is long gone obviously. I am aware that the few there do have communication. I can only guess that it is an old type radio connected a phone system.
    Thanks for the comments on the photography. There are just so many things here to point a camera at.

  9. The Aciphylla are awesome.... can you grab me some seeds please :) Honestly the House and field are looking marvellous as are you both. It's almost inspirational :P


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