First known as the Rough Ridge School, it opened in 1895. The school
was located between the settlements of Idaburn, Reefs Road and Oturehua
(then known as Rough Ridge). In 1981, a new school was built on the outskirts
The Rough Ridge Hotel was built in 1899 by James Caldwell (who also
built the store) and was known as the Rough Ridge Railway Hotel as its
commencement in business coincided with the opening of the railway.
Gilchrists General Store
Built by James Caldwell in 1899 and then in April 1902, the store was
bought by Thomas Gilchrist who made it one of the best known stores in
Central Otago. The store is now owned by the local community and a
manager is employed to run it. Visitors are welcome.
Beckers Transport & Garage
Originally a stable for coaches and horses. Andy Stuart built the first
garage and operated it for 40 years before selling it to Brian and Owen
Becker in March 1961. Burnt down in 1964, a new garage was built incorporating
a larger transport operation. The business is now operated by Scobie and
Golden Progress Gold Mine
Mining started in 1868 and several mines were in operation using underground
tunnelling to extract the gold. The reefs were difficult to follow and
the Mine closed in 1896. Re-opened in 1928/29, a further attempt was made.
The Golden Progress had a 182' shaft and 165' drives going off the shaft.
Two steam engine drove the winches and one drove the battery. Thirty-five
miners, working shifts, manned the mine. As had happened in earlier times,
the seam of gold was lost and the mine was closed down.
Blackstone Hill, or Hill Creek as it was more widely known, was named
after Mr Alfred Hill, an early shopkeeper. In the 1880's Blackstone Hill
and its surrounding districts were the scenes of goldrushes and 13 hotels
divided a large business between them. Today there is little to remind
us of the busy community that was the centre of the district in the early
Blackstone Hill Cemetery
The cemetery recorded its first death in 1864. Peter Curle died in the
lock-up and was interred in a public grave. The first "official"
burial, documenting all details, was in 1874. The cemetery is still in
The Idaburn Dam was built in 1931 for the purpose of irrigation and
has a holding capacity of .23 million cubic metres. Serving six farmers,
it irrigates 230 hectares with 11.7km of main races and 1.9km of distributary
races. The Idaburn Dam is a popular site for the winter sports of ice-skating,
ice hockey and curling.. It is the venue for the national Bonspiel (a tournament
for all curling clubs). Fishing for Trout and Perch in summer and the Brass Monkey Motorcycle Rally in deepest winter are other pastimes at the dam.
Hayes Engineering Works
Hayes Engineering Works was established in 1895 by Ernest Hayes. Ernest
Hayes started off inventing tools to help him on his farm at Oturehua but,
seeing a demand for farming equipment, he began his own business. Some
of his more famous inventions were Pollard Cutters for cutting up pollard
(a poisoned bran mixture used to kill rabbits), the Hayes Wire Strainers
which gained world-wide popularity, and windmills. The first windmill Ernest
Hayes made was to make power for his workshop. It was operated by overhead
shafts, belts and pulleys which are still in working order today.
Ernest Hayes retired in 1926 and his sons carried on the business. In
1952 it was transferred to Templeton, Christchurch because of rising transport
costs. The engineering works, still in their original condition, can be
viewed by arrangement.
Further information and other walking guides are available at the Central
Otago Information Centre, 22 Centennial Avenue, Alexandra. Telephone (03)
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