Correspondence; Owaka History, A W Miller; Miller, A W; 1971; 2010.188.25


Correspondence; Owaka History, A W Miller

About this object

Letter from A W Miller to Catlins Historical Society, 11.07.1971.

In his letter, Mr Miller gives a glimpse into daily working life at the railway station in Owaka during the time he was there, 1921-1929.

Mr Miller was Stationmaster at Owaka Railway Station where all inward and outward traffic between Balclutha and Owaka had to be checked and accounted for. Fully loaded timber trains had to reduce their load at Owaka and special trains were sent from Balclutha to pick up the timber, arriving at 2am. When the grade of the station was increased, staff was also increased adding a clerk, a cadet and a porter.

Mr Miller comments that during the 1920s the district prospered and Owaka was a busy centre, especially on sale days. He, along with many others, took shares in the Owaka Dairy Factory which regularly shipped consignments of Canoe Butter by rail to Bluff. A branch of the BNZ opened with Mr A D Angus, Manager. The South Otago Freezing Company commenced operations at Finegand.

Sawmills operating in this period were Leggat & Campbell, Stuart Bros, Maclennon Sawmilling Company, Clutha Timber Company, Hogg & Co, Tawanui Sawmilling Company, A Sharpe, Moncur & Tobin, Goss & Co, [Parae?] and Latta Bros.

Some of the railway's clients at the time were, Tom Maginness and J Thompson stock agents, George Sheddan ABC Stores, Andy Turnbull and H A Brough butchers, Mrs Ford owner of the Coffee Palace, Cecil Alloo solicitor and Dave Finlayson of Lochindorb station (both good cricketers), W Allan Postmaster, Dr Stenhouse, Mr Bonisch police officer. Owaka was a no license area and a lot of liquor arrived by rail which was not handed over to the recipient until the correct paperwork was supplied, Mr Bonisch watched this traffic very closely.

On Christmas eve, two fully loaded passenger tains arrived from Dunedin with holiday makers for Pounawea. Wirths Circus paid visits to Owaka arriving by special train.


Miller, A W

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, Aorangi, Timaru

Medium and Materials

processed material, paper;



Subject and Association Keywords

railroad engineering and operation, local and light railways

Subject and Association Keywords

railroad engineering and operation, railway operation and management

Subject and Association Keywords

history of Oceania, New Zealand, local history and description

Credit Line

From the collection of Owaka Museum Wahi Kahuika, The Meeting Place "a rest on your journey".

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

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