Preparing to move the Cornish Pumphouse – January – July 2006

A final site and relocation route was determined. The pumphouse will first move south (to the left of the picture) and then travel west along the tree line towards the top right of this photograph.

January 2006
Pine trees along the selected transport route were removed.

30 January 2006
All trees and undergrowth removed. The site was ready for earthworks to commence once archaeological inspections were complete.

31 January 2006
Upper level steel work was welded at Mount Maunganui Engineering’s workshop.

31 January 2006
Lower level beams were completed at Mount Maunganui and transported to Waihi.

2 February 2006
A small selection of the bottles found by Ray Hooker during archaeological investigations.

2 February 2006
Consulting archaeologist Ray Hooker unearthed a bottle dump just west of the pumphouse.

12 February 2006
Ray Hooker shows local members of Historic Places Trust a small selection of the artifacts he has collected. All artifacts were catalogued and recorded. Over a period of two weeks over 250 people took advantage of the opportunity to take guided tours of the site and see the pumphouse close up for the first time in many years.

The condition of the structure was regularly photographed and logged.

14 February 2006
Lower level beams were welded into place.

23 February 2006
Upper level steelwork was bolted into place. These beams provided the internal support for the shell of the structure during the move and remain in place in the new location.

3 March 2006
Weak ground to the south of the pumphouse was removed to reveal the building’s original foundations. Underdrains were installed in the area and then it was refilled with competent material capable of supporting the pumphouse for its ‘step out’ 26.5 metres to the south before beginning its journey approximately 300 metres west to its new home.

3 March 2006
Exposed foundations.

3 March 2006
The orginal pumphouse foundations. Five foundation shafts were dug, timbered and then filled with concrete to provide the base on which to build the pumphouse. Some of the original timbers can be seen. The pumphouse was cut from these foundations just above the timbers.

12 March 2006
Preparations continued on the route the pumphouse will take. Several weeks of fine weather meant the project was progressing well.

13 March 2006
Rafters were lifted into place from the north side. On the skyline the pumphouse now looked the same as it did over fifty years ago in the photo at the top of this page.

13 March 2006
Rafters in place.

14 March 2006
Looking as good as new. Rafters, steelwork and beams were all modelled on the originals to preserve the integrity of the building.

14 March 2006
Rafters and beams.

23 March 2006
The ground level to the south of the pumphouse was built back up to its orginal level using material capable of holding the weight of the building during its move.

24 March 2006
Attendees at the 2006 Annual Miners’ Reunion got a close up view of activities on site.

5 April 2006
Preload was added to the south of the pumphouse. This material acted as a weight to compress the ground ready for the move. It was removed after measurements confirmed that the route had been compressed sufficiently to hold the almost 2000 tonne weight of the building during transportation.

13 April 2006
The pumphouse was illuminated as part of Waihi’s celebration of 100 Years of Rail over Easter weekend. Preload material is silhouetted in the lower foreground.

21 April 2006
With scaffolding now removed from the lower level a small excavator was used inside the pumphouse to remove soil and debris from the lower floor under the watchful eye of archaeologist Ray Hooker.

9 May 2006
How do you begin to chop a pumphouse off its base? With a very big saw, in this case a diamond-tipped circular saw that is reputed to be the biggest in Australasia. At a later stage of the operation a diamond wire saw will be used.

25 May 2006
Autumn rains slowed progress. The ‘step out’ pad was constucted to the south of the pumphouse. Compare this picture to those above taken on 3 March 2006 .

2 June 2006
As work nears completion on the ‘step out’ pad, an excavator prepares the causeway adjacent to the old Royal Filling Shaft. Early morning sun through low lying mist silhouettes the machinery and the pumphouse.

8 June 2006
The first two tunnels were cut through the base of the pumphouse. Boxing was constructed to cast the first two slider beams in situ. Once these were in place the next tunnels were cut and the remaining three beams constructed.

14 June 2006
A view from inside the pumphouse looking south. Steel reinforcing for the slider beam is in place. The cut line for the next tunnel can be seen below the leg of the contractor who is working in the area where the flat jacks will be placed to lift the building.

19 June 2006
Meanwhile the new site for the pumphouse has been prepared. The white dots superimposed on the picture show the building’s new position. To the right is Seddon Street and the historic Anglican Church that celebrated its centenary later in 2006. The replica poppet head on Upper Seddon Street is obscured by trees in the background.

22 June 2006
The first two slider beams were poured. A fleet of trucks provided the concrete that was pumped across the site and poured into the boxing, then smoothed off to a tolerance of plus/minus 3 millimetres.

4 July 2006
The bottom section of the pumphouse was clamped together using threaded stress bars that were screwed up tight. More internal bracing was added at the lower level.This held everything firmly in place during the move. In the foreground is the steelwork for slider beam #1, ready to move into position next to beam #2 that has already been poured.

10 July 2006
It may not look much, but this is the diamond wire saw in action. The machine in the foreground powers the wire which acts much like a cheesecutter. Here the north wall tunnel for slider beam #5 is cut through from inside the pumphouse. Later, when the weight of the pumphouse was supported on all five slider beams, the same machine completed the final cuts and separated the building from its foundations.

21 July 2006
While work continued on the pumphouse in the background, in the foreground the precast concrete slider beams were placed on the causeway in readiness for the move. The pumphouse passed over these beams which were then reused and ‘leapfrogged’ down the transport route ahead of the building by passing them through a trench in the causeway under the pumphouse.

27 July 2006
This aerial photo clearly shows the ‘step out’ route and the change point where the tilt and orientation of the pumphouse were corrected before the building was jacked along the causeway.