Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 30, September 1986


A well preserved and well built traffic-ramp made by residents of Bowentown-heads holiday resort about 1927 was uncovered by two fierce easterly storms during June and July 1978. The ocean beach in early years was the only way for motor-traffic to get to Bowentown from the Waihi Beach end. At low water the sand was firm and safe, a large area of dry deep sand between firm low-water mark and the land close by the cliff edge at Bowentown made it very difficult to cross over.

A fascine track was used for a few years, it was to prove unsatisfactory and needed repairs frequently. This caused residents to decide on a permanent ramp, a lot of cement was required, and was supplied by the Kati Kati Domain Board who have the administration of this area. Shell was carted by a modal T Ford ½ ton truck from a deposit going down a track to the Beach at the Bay; rocks were crow-barred off the cliff-face and used with other material to make a strong concrete approach-road, the writer has been assured that a lot of hard work was needed, all the mixing being done by hand. Men involved were :- Sam Ulich, Lysle Hearn, Elisha Hales, Bill Shannon, Bill Walton (a Waikato farmer) Bert Cook, Les Henderson, George Spice and his son Joe.

On close inspection today (1978) it can be seen that natural outcrops of rock on the beach were used as an anchorage to make the ramp extra strong. It is now revealed for visitors and historians to admire after being buried for about twenty five to thirty years. The scene today is very much a picture of what it was 50 years ago, which goes to prove that storms can cause a great deal of erosion yet wind and sand can completely cover a feature during the summer days when northerly winds predominate at this particular spot, and sweep sand down the 5 mile beach to collect at this southern end.

Some years ago the squatters homes had to be removed, a new highway was formed, the ocean beach highway was ruled out of bounds and the ramp went into disuse.

My thanks to Lysle Hearn who, as a young active man of 18 years of age enjoyed his early adventures at Bowentown and has now provided an account of his memories to Lance Deverell.