In late 2011 Taumarunui & Districts Historical Society was honoured to take on the custodianship of the late Ken Anderson’s body of work.
Ken’s children gave into the Society’s trust his manuscripts for his books Servicing Caterpillar, Sparse Timber Sawmillers and Maoriland Sawmillers and his nearly finished manuscripts on the Taringamutu Totara Sawmills and the Ellis & Burnand Manunui Sawmilling operations.
Working for Gough Gough & Hamer Ltd’s Taumarunui branch in the 1970s Ken was familiar with the bush workings from going out to service the bulldozers operating at the skid sites. That interest persisted into his retirement years when he took on researching and writing his books. Servicing Caterpillar, the history of Gough’s Taumarunui branch, was his first publication and very popular it has proven to be.
Sparse Timber Sawmillers and Maoriland Sawmillers resulted from meticulous research into Ellis & Burnand Sawmilling operations at Ongarue and Mangapehi in the King Country.
As the titles of the books suggest Ken was a great enthusiast for the history of saw-milling, spending many hours exploring old tramways and mill sites in the area and yarning with timber workers, often in the company of his like minded friend Ron Cooke.
By entrusting his material and work into the hands of the Historical Society Ken’s children, Graham, Julie and Karla, have enabled the Society to work with Ron Cooke to publish Ken’s partially prepared manuscript Tringamoot, the story of Taringamutu Totara Sawmills.
In 2016 work is beginning on Ken’s other partly prepared manuscript. The third in his trilogy on Ellis & Burnand’s King Country operations – this time Manunui.
Ken was a force behind the formation of Taumarunui & Districts Historical Society Inc. He championed the republication of Roll Back the Years which became our inaugural project. His untimely death, just as we were about to get established, was a sorry blow and we are honoured to be able to carry on with his work.