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Fiordland National Park - NZ

Malcolm Campbell from New Zealand recently sent me these images of Bullers insulators still in situ on a disused railway line from the early 1900s and in his own words...

Not sure if you'd be interested but I was tramping in Fiordland National Park in New Zealand recently and it was beautiful but I was also quite taken by the historical side to the area on the Southern Coastal Track, Waitutu Forest. There was an old railway line that once went through an awesome podocarp forest (for milling) and there are "Bullers Ltd London" insulators that still remain there on top old tree stumps for the telegraph line. Wild country down there but I took some photos and you may like these. Took a photo of the text of the brief outline of their history. These insulators have been there since about 1908.

He went on to say...

I have some photos here for you ref the Bullers Ltd insulators in Fiordland, New Zealand. I dont know if you realise that fiordland is an extremely rugged country of 1million hectares of prestine National Park. Visitors from overseas have called it a jungle, but we see it as a rainforest (7000mm/yr annual rainfall). Thought to tell you this so you get a picture of the conditions that the men had to put up with when they had to maintain that telegraph line.

A Bullers small Terminator embedded in a tree
bullers insulator in a tree
Courtesy Malcolm Campbell NZ
The Telephone Line

A notice board provides the following information

In 1908, four gangs started work on the 159Km telephone link between Orepuki and Puysegur lighthouse. It was completed 7 months later at a cost of 8,100. West of the Waiau River, not a single telegraph pole was used. Instead, linesmen cut the tops off conviently placed trees, screwing insulators into stumps approximately 3 meters high

That single strand of No.8 wire brought speedy relief in 1910 to passengers of the stricken pleasure cruiser SS Waikare, which struck an uncharted rock in Dusky Sound. The line also provided residents of Puysegur Point and Port Craig with a much appreciated link to the outside world. Despite its benefits, maintenance was a nightmare. Linesmen made regular checks and also carried mail. For this they received 30 shillings per trip and two free pairs of boots per annum. During its last three years, the line was out of order an average of 233 days of the year. In december 1922, telephone communication with Puysegur ended.

The No.8 gauge telephone wire embedded in a tree
No.8 wire in a tree
Courtesy Malcolm Campbell NZ
A tree top treasure stamped GPO!
Small Terminator and wire on a stump top
Courtesy Malcolm Campbell NZ
Another survivor
Small Terminator on a stump top
Courtesy Malcolm Campbell NZ

Percy Burn Viaduct

A rare railway survivor, Percy Burn Viaduct
Percy Burn Viaduct
Courtesy Malcolm Campbell NZ
Railway information board
Percy Burn Viaduct
Courtesy Malcolm Campbell NZ