New entrance for old mill

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After three years of planning, Clarks Mill’s new entrance was opened to a crowd of more than 50 people yesterday.

The entrance was built 70m south of the original one on State Highway One, near Maheno, to make access to and from the property, which has been cared for by Heritage New Zealand since 1977, safer.

Clarks Mill property manager Anne Sutherland said the entrance took a few weeks to construct and was finished several months ago.

“We want visitors to have a relaxed, informative and enjoyable time when they come here, and this new entrance to Clarks Mill will help that.

“The previous access off State Highway One needed improvement to make it safer and we are delighted with the result.”

Clarks Mill, built about 1865 as part of Totara Estate, was a fantastic example of a flour mill in New Zealand with its original roller milling machinery still intact, she said.

“The visitor experience is greatly enhanced by being able to see, hear and feel the machinery in action.

“Seeing the machinery in full flight really is a tribute to the hard work of the Clarks Mill restorers who have worked so hard to make it an authentic, action-packed experience, and the visitor hosts [volunteers] who also help to show visitors around.”

The Otago Community Trust provided “generous” funding for the project, Ms Sutherland said. The work was completed by Fulton Hogan.

The entrance was officially opened by Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher and Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.

Clarks Mill is open every day in February from 10am to 4pm. The mill machinery will be operating every Thursday at 11am and every Sunday at 2pm. It is usually open on Sundays from the end of October to the end of April, 1pm to 3pm, with the machinery operating on the last Sunday of the month.

PHOTO:¬†RUBY HARFIELD¬†Heritage New Zealand destinations manager for the southern region, Paul McGahan and Clarks Mill property manager Anne Sutherland at the official opening of the historical mill’s new entrance yesterday.