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A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE OLD COLO-I-SUVA QUARRY. TODAY A SPECTACULAR LAKE AND UNIQUE ASSET FOR FIJI ECO-TOURISM. Compiled by Gay Cottle-Maxwell assisted.

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Presentation on theme: "A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE OLD COLO-I-SUVA QUARRY. TODAY A SPECTACULAR LAKE AND UNIQUE ASSET FOR FIJI ECO-TOURISM. Compiled by Gay Cottle-Maxwell assisted."— Presentation transcript:

1 A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE OLD COLO-I-SUVA QUARRY. TODAY A SPECTACULAR LAKE AND UNIQUE ASSET FOR FIJI ECO-TOURISM. Compiled by Gay Cottle-Maxwell assisted by Kanito Vuicakau, with an introduction by New Zealand-born Tom Davis, longtime Fiji Islands resident and founder of Raintree Lodge.

2 1 Introduction Early in 1999, when I was still in the process of building Raintree Lodge, two retired Australian Navy Officers approached me offering a fascinating insight into the fern-fringed lake that today forms the centrepiece of the resort. As specialist military diving instructors the pair, quite literally, had in-depth knowledge of it. They explained that in 1985 they had been called in to train Fiji Navy divers in dark diving. Unintentionally flooded in 1978 to a depth in excess of 30 metres and with rumours of hastily- abandoned equipment resting on its bed, the old Colo-i-Suva quarry provided an ideal classroom. Sure enough the divers powerful underwater floodlights soon exposed two trucks and a bulldozer, until that moment unseen for years. Upon closer inspection all three vehicles proved to be in remarkably good shape. The water being fresh, rather than salt, very little erosion had taken place. I immediately saw that here was a piece of local history that future guests might enjoy, and have since kept a constant ear out for more information on the famous old quarry. As well as speaking with a number of locals once employed there and others with cherished memories of its working days, more overseas visitors have stepped up to share their knowledge. For this I am most grateful, and long may the tradition continue. Original photographs are of course prize finds, and I am always careful to file them safely away whenever they present themselves. In 2006 I struck gold for the first time, thanks to a surprise visit from Paul Stacey, a key figure in the quarrys past. Over lunch Paul spoke of his involvement and promised to send me some pictures on his return home.

3 2 Paul was true to his word and I soon received from him the beginnings of the collection presented here. (Photos10-13) When Gay Maxwell managed Tubakula Beach Bungalows in , she came across other individuals with memories of the old quarry. One of them was local man Ning Sellers, who later visited me at Raintree. We discussed his time at the quarry from 1958 to 1962, when it was operated by Roadbuilders Fiji Limited under Serge Tetzner. Ning too had photos, and these he kindly sent to Gay to add to the album. (Photos 5-9) Then Alex Tetzner, Serges son, contacted her, and he and his sister Olga provided four more pictures. (Photos 1-4) In November 2012 I was delighted to meet Paul Staceys daughters Pauline and Cathie when they visited Raintree They may have other pictures of interest in their archives, as yet undiscovered, and have promised to let me know should they find any. My thanks to them, their brother Carl, and indeed to everyone who has made a contribution, whether big or small, to this simple record of an important part of our local history. Not least among them Alex and Olga Tetzner, for whom, as with Pauline, Cathie and Carl, the old quarry forms a significant part of their family history also. I hope you find these pictures of interest, and that they enable you to see Raintrees lake in a surprising new light. Tom Davis, Raintree Lodge December 2012

4 Whos who, in order of appearance: Serge Tetzner, the second operator of the quarry who along with Bill Bygrave set up Road Builders Limited and the farther of Alex and Olga. Refer photos 1 and 3. Ray Patton, who may have also being a shareholder in Road Builders Limited. Refer photo 1. Bill Bygrave, possibly a senior partner in Road Builders Limited. Refer photo 1. Bill Ning Sellars, at this point in time we think he may have been a valued employee of Road Builders, but may also have been a shareholder/director. Refer to photos 1,5 and 9. Kalivati, Serge Tetzners trusty (and trusted!) chainman. Refer photo 2 The Bhindi brothers, Road Builders Ltds local project partners. Refer photo 3 Dave Spowart, head bulldozer operator – one of his machines, though inaccessible, remains on site to this day! Bill Tabua, Quarry Manager. The late Paul Stacey of Neider Pacific, who re-visited Colo-i-Suva and met with Tom Davis in Refer photos 10 and 12. Joan Stacey, Pauls wife. Refer photo 11. Cathie Manchester and Pauline Stacey, the couples daughters who retain fond childhood memories of Colo-i-Suva. Refer photos 13,16 and 17. 3

5 The italicized numbers shown in brackets refer to locations marked on the map on page 6. The excavated area (and the present day lake), is marked (1) on the map. The yellow line seen on the map shows where the circular road lay that was used by trucks carrying loads of rock and ore to the main road exit (2) and their various destinations beyond. Its thought that the original owner of the Colo-i-Suva quarry was the Public Works Department, whose operations at the site spanned the ten years from around 1948 to 1958, and provided rock for road building between Suva and Nausori. It was then shut down, apparently in the belief that all available rock had been recovered. In fact, there was plenty more to be had. Around 1957 Serge Tetzner, of the Fiji Government Survey Department, got together with Bill Bygrave of Lautoka to set up a company called Road Builders Limited and get the quarry going again. With New Zealander Ray Paton and local man Ning (Bill) Sellars aboard, it continued to supply rock from about 1958 to This was used on road improvements between the Suva Cemetery and Lami. After Road Builders Limited wound up its operations at the quarry, it was eventually taken over by Nieder Pacific (a subsidiary of Nieder Pacific Machinery New Zealand). In 1973 the company had just ended two or three years of operations at the Mau quarry, freeing its staff for a move to Colo-i-Suva. Excavation was performed using Fijis first Hydraulic Excavator, a Hymac. Hasmukh Ali, who had large 6 wheeler trucks, was contracted to handle cartage. The venture lasted just two years. Ownership then passed equally briefly to Armstrong Ashfeld, 4

6 and in 1977 to Jafir Ali, whose operation came to an abrupt halt the following year. This was because the single pump broke down and the pit started quickly filling with water from the numerous underground springs, with the loss of equipment including the two trucks and a bulldozer which lie at the bottom of the lake to this day. Also in 1978, Nieder Pacific bought Marlows Limited crusher and plant at Laqere, Nasinu, which was then sold to Pioneer/Standard Concrete Industries Limited. in The bins in photos number 12 and 13 are still in use at Nasinu. Information from the NLTB (iTaukei Land Trust Board) indicates that a Quarry Lease was held by SCIL (Standard Concrete Industries Limited) from 1 st January 1978 for 15 years until The Colo-i-Suva quarrys two crushers were originally located where the resorts Lodge 2 now stands, and later relocated to the area occupied today by Raintrees pool complex (3), and what is now a lily pond (4) was dug out in connection with dust control operations. The very robust detonator store (5), is still on site, and can be seen next to Lodge 5. The flat part of the property at the top of the drive (6), which houses Raintrees workshop, laundry and nursery, was a storage area for excavated ore. The site of the quarrys office and workshop is now occupied by the Colo-i- Suva Community post (7) across the road to Raintrees entrance. There were storerooms there too, where the volleyball court is now. Houses on the hill (8) beyond Raintrees lake were staff houses. The quarrys supervisor Maikeli, lived in the big one closest to us. Maikeli later lived at Nasinu, and only recently passed away. The original quarry manager lived in a cottage on the site of Dorm 3 (9). 5

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8 Road Builders Ltd. – Quarry Opening – 1958 – Serge Tetzners Mother (Olga Tetzner) receiving customary bowl of Yaqona. Serge Tetzner standing beside her and Ray Patton behind her. Front row left in dark trousers and glasses – Bill Bygrave. Right front row, back of Serge Tetzner – Bill (Ning) Sellars. (Alex and Olga Tetzner – Son and Daughter of Serge Tetzner)

9 2 Road Builders Ltd. – Quarry Opening – 1958 – The boys serving Yaqona. Bottom right, Kalivati, Serge Tetzners ever-faithful Chainman from Lands Department days. Whenever Serge was transferred within the Lands Department, Kalivati would be waiting on the steps of the Office of Serges new posting wherever it was. Interestingly, Kalivati died 3 months before Serge, so he would have been waiting for him in the hereafter

10 3 Road Builders Ltd. – Quarry Opening – 1958 – Left to right – Bill Bygrave; Serge Tetzner; Serges Mother, Mrs. Olga Tetzner; Serges daughter Olga; Serges wife, Mrs. Tetzner; Bhindi brothers, partners in Road Builders Ltd

11 4 Road Builders Ltd. – Quarry Opening – 1958 – the heart of the Quarry, with the Crusher (Ruston Diesel Engine) top right, and above the bins, the device that sorted the crushed metal, and of course the equipment. Head Bulldozer operator, Dave Spowart, would be in the photo somewhere, together with other members of the Spowarts

12 5 Bill Tabua- Quarry Manager, and Ning Sellars, Crusher House and quarry in background. (Bill Sellars-Ning)

13 6 Bill Tabua, Quarry Manager, Road Builders Ltd. (Bill Sellars – Ning)

14 7 (Bill Sellars – Ning)

15 8 (Bill Sellars – Ning)

16 9 Ning Sellars, 2 nd from right, with the boys (Bill Sellars – Ning)

17 10 The Building on the cliff was removed by Paul Stacey. (Carl Stacey)

18 11 Crushing plant, where the swimming pool is now. Paul Stacey's wife Joan - (Carl Stacey)

19 12 Load Bin for Trucks – Bin still used at SCIL Nasinu. (Carl Stacey)

20 13 House in the background, which was the Caretakers House, is where Dormitory 3 is situated today. Bins still used now at SCIL Nasinu These bins were where Dorm 2 is now. The two girls on top of the bins are Pauline and Cathie Stacey, Paul Staceys daughters.. (Carl Stacey) L

21 14 On the right bottom of the picture is the pump house where the water pump was situated. The water area was the last area removed by Nieder Pacific. The top right corner of the picture was the Haul road where the trucks used to come into the quarry. (Carl Stacey)

22 15 Rock Crusher, designed and build by Paul Stacey, Neider Pacific. (Carl Stacey),

23 Cathie and Pauline Stacey at the Old Quarry (Raintree Lake) 17 November Refer to picture No

24 Cathie and Pauline Stacey at the Old Quarry (Raintree Lake) 17 November Refer to picture No


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