Whereabouts of mysterious falls located

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

Readers have solved the mystery of the Beresford Falls.

Callers were quick off the mark when last Thursday’s Clutha Leader hit the streets of Balclutha asking for help to locate the falls on the Catlins River.

Balclutha photographer Richard Schofield and Department of Conservation (Doc) ranger Cheryl Pullar were spot on with their location about 20 minutes up from the Tawanui campsite.

“I have passed there many times,” Ms Pullar said.

“It’s about 20-30 minutes’ walk from the campsite but there are some steep climbs to get there around bluffs.”

Mr Schofield agreed and said it was a good solid walk to get there but it was worth it.

Retired deerstalker Les Aimers, keen hunters Ross Begg, Mark Latta and many others all called into the office to tell staff where they thought the falls were.

And the calls continued through the weekend and into Monday.

Many had a good idea, although some were wide of the mark.

Following the re-publication of C.J. Moreton’s photo titled “View of the Beresford Falls”, on the Catlins River, Otago Witness, Issue 3172, December 30, 1914″, in a recent edition of the Otago Daily Times, the Clutha Leader sought the public’s help in clearing up the mystery of where the falls actually were.

Mr Aimers (82) said several picturesque falls were to be found along the length of the 12.5km Catlins River’s Wisp Loop Track and he reckoned the ones in the picture were about two hours in from the Tawanui campsite.

“I was last there over 25 years ago but they still looked the same as in the old photo,” he said.

Mr Aimers said there were other falls along the river’s length that rivalled the Beresford Falls, including a bigger version further up near the Cairn and Chloris Pass roads.

Ross Begg said the falls were “on the Tawanui side of the wire bridge which is near the Franks Stream”. He included a photo of his recent family walk along the track.

Then, a reader offered a copy of a 2003 Clutha Vets calendar containing Richard Schofield’s rendition of the falls, along with a copy of Otago Cavalcade 1911-1915 printed by Allied Press in 1984 containing the original photo.

Local residents and visitors spoken to by the Clutha Leader at the Tawanui campsite confirmed the falls were indeed 20 minutes upriver from the start of the walk.

Later, retired Owaka farmer Alan Burgess brought in a copy of Rhys Buckingham’s journal detailing all 72 falls in the Catlins State Forest Park area circa 1982.

“Rhys was working for the forest service and he visited and charted every one of them while he stayed with us,” Mr Burgess said.

“His journalĀ  has the measurements of them all and also details how the public could access them.”

In the journal Mr Buckingham calls them the Tawanui Falls but Mr Burgess thought he might have been guessing that name or unaware of the title already given to them by others as the Beresford Falls.

“The hand typed book with its detailed map is a very valuable resource and I hope the council or Doc has a copy of it,” Mr Burgess said.