Topic: Sorensen Residence, 213 Smart Road (circa 1904)

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213 Smart Road

This attractive villa residence was likely constructed during the mid-1900s for Carl Sorensen.

Carl purchased the property on which the villa is located (Part Section D of Hua & Waiwhakaiho District) in March 1904 and appears to have had the present villa constructed as his family home soon after.

In 1906, Carl discovered on the property large deposits of high-quality Kaolin, a pure white clay for ceramics. These Kaolin deposits attracted considerable media attention and in 1908 the farm was sold to an international consortium who hoped to mine the clay from the property.

By mid-1908, a number of tunnels had been driven into the hillside to determine the extent and quality of the Kaolin deposits. In the process of driving the tunnels, another potentially valuable material was also discovered, this being lignite, a form of soft coal.

Whilst there were high hopes that the Kaolin discovery might result in a new industry for New Plymouth, for unknown reasons, the venture appears to have failed and the farm was re-purchased by Carl about 1910.

The re-purchase is not recorded in the deeds index for some reason, but a newspaper report from 1912 mentions Carl discovered petroleum in one of the tunnels after an "explosion of accumulated gases" whilst he was attempting to clear it out!

Ownership of the farm was later conveyed to C. H. M. Sorensen & another in 1925. 

Photo supplied courtesy of Jill Ryan, descendent of Carl Sorensen and family.

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Sorensen Residence, 213 Smart Road (circa 1904)

City:New Plymouth