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Wilson Cement Works Model construction

The Wilson Cement Works Exhibition opened at the Warkworth Museum on Nov 1st 2023 - sharing stories about the historical Wilson Cement Works (1883 - 1929), and the impact it had on the history of the Warkworth township. Only the ruins of this remarkable enterprise remain. The site is now owned by Auckland Council. 

This model of the Wilson Cement Works is a 3-D interpretation based on an existing architecture site plan, informative documents & journals, and visual information gleaned from historical photographs taken over time, from different viewpoints. The site was never static, it was constantly evolving. During its entire period of industrial activity (1866 - 1929) the products and the manufacturing processes underwent many shifts and changes. Improvements in production methods often required the installation of new machinery. Existing buildings were adapted and/or new buildings were constructed. Some notable structures became redundant e.g. the vertical cylindrical kilns - and were eventually removed.


The model of the Cement Works plant took 2 months to make. With only one blueprint of an early site plan (enlarged to scale), a more recent hand-drawn map, an isometric drawing of the ruins, plus a selection of historical photographs from different angles, the buildings were identified and then constructed one by one. 

First a maquette of each structure was made from paper/card. Once the template fitted together well, and the scale seemed accurate (based on photos and surrounding structures), each building was constructed using balsa wood and sandpaper for the roofs. 

Model construction - Ursula Christel; Frame & wharf - John Tate; Steamboat - Peter McKinnon

View Gallery

Sep - Oct 2023

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