Mill artefacts go on display

BY CAROLYN THOMAS
Last updated 05:00 30/05/2009
Photo: CAROLYN THOMAS

TREASURE TROVE: Ben Copedo spent five months from 1988 to 1989 hunting out artefacts at the old Henderson Mill site.

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It’s been 20 years since Ben Copedo started fossicking around the old Henderson Mill site.

Now his findings are going on public display.

Ben is a member of the West Auckland Historical Society which meets at the Mill Cottage on Sel Peacock Drive.

Items including old bricks, wood, iron, crockery and glass will be shown at the cottage on Monday and Saturday from 11am to 3pm.

Ben began collecting them while walking around an excavation site at the spot where the mill was based near Henderson Creek from 1848 to 1868.

The earth was being stripped back to make way for a bridge.

"I was wandering around because it was Boxing Day and no men or machinery were there. I started spotting things that looked interesting."

Ben contacted the building contractors who allowed him access and he rummaged for artefacts each time earth was moved.

He couldn’t believe his eyes when he came across brick piping he’d read about in history books.

"I hoped something big would be unearthed," the 82-year-old says.

Another significant find was a large clump of kauri.

The wood was sent to a laboratory for chemical treatment and Ben believes it was part of an original mill building.

Ben often talks to groups about the mill’s history.

"To be successful in life I think you need to know your past and what’s gone on," he says.

"When schoolkids come through you can see the eagerness in their eyes."

Society member Vivien Burgess helped Ben organise the artefacts that have been in storage since 1989.

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