Heritage Trails Of Warkworth
The founding history of Warkworth Township dates back as far as 1842 when a young John Anderson Brown was rowed up the historic Mahurangi River, in a whaleboat with a Maori crew (to discover its headwaters) and here he decided to live. Brown gained a timber-cutting licence and together with a Captain Kasper, established a water-powered mill by building the dam below Bridgehouse. Brown then developed the first flour mill on the banks of the river. In 1854 he purchased 153 acres from the Crown and named the site Warkworth, after his ancestral home (Warkworth Northumbria, UK) where his grandfather was a schoolmaster. Brown soon took on the role of the father of this settlement, becoming the town’s first postmaster, constable and was appointed chairman of the first Mahurangi Highway Board.
Such are the stories told by local historian, Dave Parker who, many years ago, put together both a Walking and a Driving Heritage Trail of Warkworth so that locals and visitors alike could experience and gain much insight into the town’s history. Dave established a Visitor Information and Public Relations Centre seventeen years ago (now the Warkworth i-SITE), from which he runs a Walk-About Heritage Trail, offering the opportunity to learn more about the town’s heritage and buildings. The Wilson Cement industry, the pioneering families and their input to the development of a township and a business community, the establishment of the various churches and the contribution made by the district wide presence of the US Marines between 1942-44 are just some of the features of interest.
His recommendations for the Driving Trail include Parry Kauri Park & District Museum, Cement Works, Kowhai Park Kilns and historic attractions of the surrounding district. He also offers a Heritage Excursion aboard the historic vessel ‘Jane Gifford’ as there is so much to learn about the Mahurangi River and the numerous historic sites along the twelve kilometres of riverbank from Warkworth to Scotts Landing.
There are continuing efforts to place Heritage Plaques on various buildings and to establish Audio Tours to self-guided Walking Tours of the Township.
For further information, contact Dave Parker.
027 484 9935