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  • TRACTION ENGINE SHIFTS BNZ

    Traction Engines were used for a great variety of jobs. We are most familiar with this machine’s use at the farming level, but here we have a Traction engine shifting an early B.N.Z. building around the Square in Palmerston North, circa July or August, ...
  • CONVEYING A GIANT KAURI

    This photograph, taken in approximately 1908 somewhere within the Northland area, prominently features a giant Kauri log being jauntily steered, possibly to a mill. Though maybe not all present in the picture, a total of 12 bullocks are dragging this heft...
  • RESTORED 1929 MARSHALL ROLLER

    The Marshall 1929 is the only one in the Southern Hemisphere. There is one other in the U.K. dated 1933. It has steam assisted steering not like the chain drive of conventional rollers. The Museum is the third owner, the original owners being the Christch...
  • NEW ZEALAND’S OLDEST

    This is the oldest steam engine in New Zealand, built in 1869, and purchased by Colin Stevenson in the early 1970s. The Wellington Patent slip was constructed between 1871 and 1873. It has an interesting history. There are at least two versions of its ori...
  • HEAVY HAULAGE FOR POWER SCHEME

    Here’s another of our archival photographs. It shows a further way in which traction engines were used for heavy haulage. Loads would vary enormously in weight and variety. Even today’s trucks would be put to the test to carry such weights and of co...
  • MIRRLEES DIESEL ENGINE IN MUSEUM EXTENSION

    Pictured is one of the engines in our newly finished Museum extension. Although the engines located here are not stationary steam engines, they nonetheless form an interesting part of our history. These are power station type engines but the odd one is st...
  • THE ONGOING TASK OF RESTORATION

    Visitors to the Museum, or to any collection of vintage machinery for that matter, cannot help but admire the gleaming paint-work and tip-top mechanical condition of collected machinery. It is sometimes difficult to visualize the often terrible condition ...
  • THE VERSATILE STEAM PLOUGHING ENGINE

    This Steam Ploughing Engine, illustrated at right, was first exhibited on July 1st, 1879 by Messrs Everitt, Adams & Co of Ryburgh Norfolk at the Royal Agricultural Society's show, Kilburn, England. Named Universal by its makers, the Engine has among its s...
  • STEAM HAMMER

    As a reminder that steam power was used for purposes other than driving engines, the Museum collection includes Steam Hammers. The Hammer is simply a reciprocating engine mounted vertically with a hammer on the end of the shaft while the steam is introduc...
  • MINIATURES & MODELS

    The models corner of the Museum is always a favourite place for young and old visitors alike. Museum founder Colin Stevenson is here depicted demonstrating the wide variety of miniature train and steam models we have on display. A good many are run on com...
  • HUGH RAINEY, RESTORER

    Hugh Rainey, seen here in 1968 driving a trailer load of boy scouts at a Tokomaru Domain rally, was a talented engineer who designed and built this working model Traction Engine at one-third scale. It is now on show at the Plains Museum in Ashburton. Hugh...
  • OPERATION CHECKLIST FOR STEAM WAGON

    As a reminder that the vehicles of the past were more hands-on and laborious to drive than the automobiles of today, here is an operation checklist taken from the plate of a steam wagon similar to the one shown here, dubbed the Sentinel. “Instructions f...
  • TOKOMARU SURVIVES KING KONG

    After a false start in 1996 and years of preparation thereafter, Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong finally made it into theatres mid-December, 2005. A significant part of the movie takes place at sea aboard an old tramp steamer, the S.S. Venture. When...
  • CURRENT STEAM HIGHLIGHT

    The Museum’s Patent Slip Engine is thought to be the oldest engine in New Zealand. Though the Patent Slip has been mentioned before on the website, several people have requested further information. The Slip itself, opened in 1873 with engine built in 1...

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