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Aerial view . . . Clarks Mill sits under the limestone escarpment just north of Maheno. PHOTO: GRANT SHEEHAN

A sesquicentennial of “flour power” is being celebrated at Clarks Mill.

Next month marks 150 years since the historic site near Maheno produced its first flour.

Clarks Mill is now owned and run by Heritage New Zealand, which is holding a weekend of activities there on February 18 and 19.

“Built from Oamaru limestone cut from nearby, the four-storey mill is a simple yet striking building, and a rare reminder of an industry that once thrived in the region,” property manager Anne Sutherland said.

“We know that the flour from the mill was being sold in February 1867, when it was then called the Kakanui Mill, so we are taking the 150th anniversary from this date.

“We want to make this a truly memorable weekend involving the whole local community.”

Mrs Sutherland is seeking input from residents who recall the mill in bygone days.

“We plan to have exhibitions such as on growing wheat, making flour and bread as well as photos or paintings of the mill, and so if anyone can contribute items to these displays for the weekend, we would love to hear from them.”

Vintage commercial vehicles, such as those used to transport wheat, flour, or baked goods, were also being sought.

Anyone who could help should phone Ms Sutherland on 433-1269 or email her at totaramanager@heritage.org.nz

“During the weekend we would be delighted to talk to people who have memories of the mill they would like to record in our Clarks Mill Book of Memories,” she said.

Not only will the mill building be open for the celebrations, but the Miller’s House, the stone cottage known as Smokey Joe’s, and the shed now occupied by the North Otago Vintage Machinery Club will also be accessible to the public.

Club members will help the Clarks Mill team to show how wheat grown in the district was turned into the daily bread that fed its population.

Flour will be produced by the “Four Hi” milling machine on the Saturday, and on the Sunday all the machinery will be cranked up every hour.

“Clarks Mill is the sole remaining flour mill where visitors can see the early machinery still intact and operating,” Ms Sutherland said.

Children’s activities and a pop-up 1949-style cafe are additional attractions.

On the Saturday night a new film recording of the mill will have its premiere screening at the nearby Purton’s Cafe & Bar.