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Denniston

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Denniston is a small settlement in the northwestern South Island of New Zealand, in the West Coast region. It is on the small Mount Rochfort Plateau in the Papahaua Ranges 600 metres above sea level, 18 kilometres north-east of Westport.During the early years of the 20th century Denniston's population was close to 2000, due to the large coal mine close to the town. It is now little more than a ghost town, with a population of less than 50. The location, history and fate of Denniston are similar to those of Millerton, New Zealand.Coal is still mined at the nearby Burnett's Face and at the Stockton Mine. In 2010 Bathurst Resources announced the Escarpment Mine Project to mine for coal on the Denniston Plateau, a move strongly opposed by environmentalists.In March 2013 the Environment Court gave Bathurst the go-ahead, though groups such as Forest & Bird vowed to continue fighting.HistoryOverviewDuring its heyday, Denniston had a large enough population to justify having its own lodges, churches, and sports clubs. It also had its own Returned Services Association, and five Lodges (Masonic, Druids, Oddfellows, Orange and Buffaloes). The last of these, the Buffaloes Lodge, closed in 1996 by which time it had relocated from Denniston to the former Waimangaroa RSA rooms. It also boasted a small school which now serves as a local museum. The town also boasted its own medical society, and several pubs. The last of these was the Red Dog Saloon, owned by Johnny Cotter until it closed in the 1960s when coalmining ceased. It did not have a cemetery as the ground was too hard; bodies were transported from Denniston to Waimangaroa initially down the Denniston Incline and later by road which allowed residents to leave the Hill without needing to use the Incline. Before this was built, the only means to access Denniston or leave it was by the Incline.
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