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Farm cottage. A feature of the Catlins farmland is the many examples of picturesque pioneer cottages and houses still to be seen. Where: Along the Scenic Route at Ratanui and in the Owaka and Glenomaru valleys.
Early timber workers. Logging and timber milling were once the main source of employment in the Catlins. Two handed cross cut saws (pictured) and axes were the tools of the "bushmen". The work in the forest and in the short-lived, roughly built sawmills was often dangerous.
Sawmilling. The main industry in the Catlins from 1870 to 1970 was sawmilling. The giant podocarp trees (rimu, totara, matai, kahikatea and miro) were sawn up and shipped or railed out to provide building materials for the cities of Dunedin and Invercargill.
The "Surat". This famous shipwreck gave its name to one of the beaches in the Catlins. Fortunately all the crew and passengers were saved; many were immigrants for whom this was a rude first experience of New Zealand!
Whaling boat. In the 1830's and 40's there was a feverish and destructive era of whaling on the Catlins coast. Within 10 years, the Right whales were eliminated by shore and ship based whalers. Some of these whalers married local Maori and their descendants live in the Catlins today. Captain Cattlin was a whaler and trader.
Railway construction. The Catlins River branch railway, constructed from Balclutha to Tahakopa between 1879 and 1914, opened up the forested "frontier" for timber milling and farming. The railway closed in 1971 but its former path is to be seen in many places, as are some of the original railway stations, such as those at Maclennan and Tahakopa.