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Marvel at a fully operational turn-of-the20th-century workshop, where millwright and engineer Ernest Hayes invented labour-saving devices for farmers under the slogan ‘‘if durability before cheapness, first cost last cost’’.
This enduring family business, E. Hayes and Sons, became famous for its perfected wire-strainer design in 1924, but also turned out windmills, standards and gates, rabbitsmokers, cattle-stops, spinning jennies, wheel clamps and more. Nine Hayes children were brought up at the site, once known as ‘‘Echo Farm’’, where a series of fascinating mud-brick buildings, gardens and quirky Hayes contraptions are revealed.
Ernest’s wife, Hannah, initially pedalled her bike through Central Otago’s desolate landscape in her long skirts to get orders for the business — a tale that stops many of today’s visitors to the Heritage-NewZealand-cared-for property right in their tracks. A genuine example of Kiwi ingenuity, this historic workplace provides a rare glimpse of early technology suspended in time.
Domestic life, too, is hinted at in the family’s restored 1920s homestead — a doublemud-brick villa with rooms filled with everyday items reflecting the era. Come and visit, take a guided tour of the workshop, big house and gardens, be revived by a Hayes roast coffee, browse the gift shop and taste some delights from Hannah’s Kitchen.
To see the workshop come tolife, turn up at one of the following operating days over summer: January 7, February 4, March 4, and April 1, 2018. Cost: $20 per person, children under 15 and Heritage New Zealand members are free.