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Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 2, Issue 3, 1989

(a) The Stoke Quarry

(a) The Stoke Quarry

Burning lime must have been one of the first industrial activities undertaken in the new settlement of Nelson. The Nelson Examiner of 2nd December 1843 promotes the use of lime on ploughed lands, and details the facilities for obtaining it. A stratum of shelly limestone, of variable quality, still runs roughly along the line of the Ridgeway at Stoke. The earliest road from Nelson to the Waimea Plains ran along this line, and passed through Section 42, which is quoted in the paper.

It goes on to say that "Limestone, as most of our colonists are aware, is already quarried and burnt in Section 42, Suburban South District. The tenants of that section (Palmer and Ladd) would, no doubt, contract to raise a large quantity of stone, say 100 tons, and deliver it at the waterside, either burnt or unburnt as might be required; from whence it might be carried in large boats, at a small expense, to any farms having a water frontage. If parties requiring lime prefer quarrying for themselves, the formation, it is believed, creeps out near the surface, in the adjoining sections, numbers 41 and 29. The development of the strata, and the introduction into general use of this valuable element of production in soil, would amply remunerate the proprietor of any section containing it for any quantity which would be removed in the first twelve months. If application were made to the Resident Agent of the Company, a shorter road would probably be made along the boundary of sections 43 and 24 to the most available arm of the sea. At present the stone could be carted along a road already laid out, and passable in summer, which intersects and terminates in section number 4, on the coast."

And a week later it says – "The present limeburners in Suburban South district (Messrs Palmer and Ladd) are now prepared to supply agriculturists with lime at the kiln at £1 a ton, on condition that all carts come laden with wood; or they will deliver the stone at the waterside at 15s. per ton. As it is believed by many of our agriculturists that lime will be highly beneficial to fern land, we hope they will not neglect the present opportunity of introducing it into general use."

Later, in August 1859, it is recorded that the noted Austrian geologist Dr Ferdinand von Hochstetter, amongst other activities, inspected the limestone quarry at Stoke. This quarry finally became the site of Hall's limeworks.