Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Old sheds

In my travels, I see many changes to the landscape throughout Otago and Southland. The most profound ongoing change is the conversion of sheep farms to dairy units. This can happen in the most unlikely places, and sometimes I do not altogether like the effect. One of the first things that seems to happen during the conversion is the removal by any means of any apparently redundant building on the property. While this may provide a 'clean and tidy' look, it almost completely removes any of the history associated with the property. The second thing that happens is the felling of most of the shelter trees. On some windswept farms the wisdom of this is to be questioned. After all, grass grows if the temperature is above 8 degrees C, and if you have a gale blowing over it it is less likely to get to that temperature. The people who started the farm learned the hard way how much more pleasant it was to work on a property without the hindrance of thin winds that go straight through everything.
The above photo is of what was (I think) the living quarters for staff on Wantwood Station in Northern Southland. This property is leased by an enthusiastic young sheep farmer, and is most unlikely to be converted, so presumably the building will be allowed to fall down at a natural rate. One of the interesting things about it, is that wooden tiles were used on the roof, and when these started to leak, corrugated iron was put over the top. You can see the slates where the iron has come off.
The message is.... if you are going to knock down an old building for whatever reason, go out and take some photos of it before you do it. If you can't take photos, get someone in who can. At least then there will be some future record of it.
In my next post I will put a photo of the wool shed on the same property. I hope someone will give me the complete history of these buildings.

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