Front page of Waihi Leader 11 May 2010
Walkway reward for hard work
by Sharlene Van Leeuwen
While Waihi goes about its business, just metres away along the Mill Stream and Ohinemuri river, more than 70 Waihi Walkways members have been slashing and burning, weeding and planting.
They have created the beautiful Mill Stream Walkway and their group has just turned 10 years old. And what better way to celebrate than to take a walk along Mill Stream with all its fascinating historical features.
The Sunday walk started behind the tennis courts with a view of the early battery manager TP Clark’s house built in 1896, where five years ago weeds covered the area.
"It was impenetrable," says Waihi Walkways coordinator Ruth Ordish. "And we cleared the stream which was full of all manner of rubbish.
"We have created a bio-diversity of natives and for ambience where it suits we’ve planted some deciduous as well."
The walk traverses mainly Department of Conservation land and winds through mostly native plantings as well as a giant grove of bamboo, past the site of Waihi’s early battery buildings, a series of cascading waterfalls, across bridges, around the back of Gilmour Lake full of autumn reflections and under Coronation Bridge to finish at the waterhole at the end of Wellington Street.
For many it was their first time on the track, but some walkers had memories going much further back. Dick Spurr grew up in Waihi and remembers the waterholes along where the track is now.
"It depended where your mates were swimming at the time of course, some were Eastenders and Southerners and I lived on the west end.
"There were no baths back then and it was a good way to get through a long summer.
"We would swim all along here and would sometimes pinch turnips from the farmers and build a fire and cover them with mud and cook them and eat them. That was lunch.
"We built a punt, a flat-bottomed boat, and canoed along this river in that."
Now Wednesday weeding days see a number of volunteers out maintaining the current walk and the next stage downstream has been started. The group aims to finish at the end of Lawrence Road where the cycle trail will emerge.
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways