“Sweat and Toil – The Building of New Zealand” by John McLean, published by Tross Publishing. Price $40.
Reviewed by Tony Orman
In this 252 page book, are the story of some amazing construction feats of the 19h century in the big public works projects that created roads, railways, viaducts, lighthouses and other utilities. Involved were skilful engineers and surveyors, adept work-managers in contractors and of course the ”sweat and toil” of the workers themselves.
Author John McLean is the great, great-grandson of John McLean who founded the firm of John McLean and Sons which became the largest firm of public works contracts and which carried out many projects. The reader will almost certainly marvel at the perseverance and good old-fashioned guts of workers and the precision of engineers and surveyors. The Otira tunnel for example – when the two drills met the difference was only about 2.5 cms over its 8 kms length.