Oamaru Limestone is hewn from the rolling green hills of North Otago.
The Parkside Quarry in Weston near Oamaru has been in operation since 1906. The quarry produces large quantities of agricultural lime and is the sole New Zealand supplier of Oamaru limestone building material.
Joe Mitchell (above right), who owns the adjoining farm land, took over the quarry in 1974 and is still involved in the business. The quarry produces up to 7000 tonnes a year of cut limestone and manager Bob Wilson (above left) is pleased that some of it’s being used to rebuild earthquake damaged heritage buildings in Christchurch.
“We’re doing a lot of restoration work on some of the old buildings at the Arts Centre and Christ College. I was up at the Arts Centre last week and it’s nice to see stone masons at work”.
The limestone is also sought after by sculptors and every two years a carving symposium is held in Oamaru using stone from the quarry that attracts artists from around the world.
Surplus limestone from the cutting process is taken to the limeworks on the other side of the quarry where it is made into agricultural lime.
Bob says “There’s no waste at all coming out of here, it’s all crushed up for lime. We do about 60,000 tonnes a year and it’s one of the purest limes around”.