Chelsea Sugar Mill

That’s the Chelsea Sugar Mill, which lives at the bottom of our street. Or I guess we live at the top of its street, since it’s been there 130+ years and we’ve been here a week.

It’s New Zealand’s only sugar mill, processing some 200,000 tonnes per year, 80% for domestic use. NZ never had much of a sugar economy, not hot enough I would guess. Today, most of the raw sugar comes in from Queensland. probably on ships like the one in the picture.

In the 1880s, all the traffic would have been by ship. But today, most of that domestic production goes out by truck. Up the steep road we live near the top of. That’s a fair number of large trucks churning up a steep hill, downshifting, chugging, downshifting, chugging. It’s a feature of this property that the real estate agent entirely forgot to highlight in the brochure… sloppy work I’d say. But it’s a good thing, because if they had disclosed that, I’m sure someone else would’ve bought the house before we did! Or not.

Trucks or not, it’s still pretty cool to have our own national landmark like that. Sugar mill factory tours are suspended due to the pandemic, but I’m looking forward to learning more…

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