Hi everyone! Finaly got on and was able to upload these photo's. They were taken today from a Cessna (Thanks very much to Evan for flying me around so I could do this.). Well anyway I hope you enjoy them.
Hope to get even more before and after photos from Rukuhia soon!
From the very little I know of the site, and from looking at these shots, I understand that the smelter was pretty much located where the cold store (large white bulidings in the centre of the first three shots) is now, and the surplus aircraft appear to be pretty much parked in the area where the red roofed cream(?) coloured buildings and airport car park are now located?
Thanks for posting these images, Tony - gives a lot more perspective to the size of the whole operation.
The large white building on what we suspect is the old smelter site is the PowerBeat workshop/warehouse. The cream buildings with red roofs are the airport motel. The clues I tried to match up are the gullies, but the modern day airport road cuts across them. On further consideration I would have liked to have gotten a bit further west (closer to the actual airport), but the tower asked us to stay east of the terminal area.
I think the closest match is modern photo 3 with old photo 2. Good work Tony.
I saw this place as a kid in the latefifties/early 60's, and it was incredibly exciting even back then, a treasure trove of real, old ghostly warplanes, sitting in the corner of an airfield not far from where we lived. Probably that slightly spooky memory is one of the reasons I'm now so hooked on old planes ...
My memory is of approaching them by car, which if correct, would have to have been from top left in the old photo no. 1, as the planes were lined up behind a long straight fence, to our right, with noses pointing towards us. However the track or road showing in the photo appears to go behind the planes, so I don't know whether we drove across the grass, or if there was a track around the front of them at some time.
The other possibility of course is that my memory is wrong. Happens a lot.
The three photos appear to have been taken at different times, as the layout and number of planes is slightly different in each one - at first I thought photo no. 3 was taken first, since more aircraft visible, then on further squinting, maybe no. 1? But no. 3 doesn't have the smelting hut, so that must be the oldest?
Never fails to grab me though, talk of the Rukuhia graveyard!
Those two photos of the smelter shed look like some collaboration between Mickey Mouse and a No 8 wire equipped kiwi farmer, with sheds made out of packing crates and stuff rather haphazardly shoved any which way, and dirt tracks. Nothing seems to be being done in any methodical way.
If there is a highway to hell and a stairway to heaven is that an indication as to the expected traffic flows?