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Contact number: +64
Alternative contact number: +64

Historic Ohai

First inhabited by farmers on land carved from Birchwood Station in 1912, Ohai mushroomed when coal mining got under way soon after World War 1.

Several coal screens lined the Ohai Railway Board track along Birchwood Road. Immigrant miners poured in. Most were "Geordies"from Newcastle, England, who were joined by Nightcaps miners made redundant when the seams there were worked out.

Services came - the Post Office in 1921, the School in 1926, the School of Mines in 1934 and Mines Rescue Station in 1943. There was no pub until 1953!

Ohai quickly surpassed Nightcaps in population and government officials like police were relocated there.

Sporting clubs flourished. Rivalry with Nightcaps in any sport, especially rugby, was famously intense. This was put aside at work where team work underground was essential! The workers were united in union activities, in rescue work after explosions, in strikes, in voting.....

In the 1950s the local school was moved 2 kilometres to the west because the Wairaki mine underground workings made the building unstable and potentially dangerous. Those conditions also upset one "underwhelmed" miner who was contemplating nature through his longdrop's door on a sunny Sunday. Without warning his prized garden disappeared into the mine leaving a wire fence jangling without supports!



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