Our Visit to the Wakefield Steam Museum – now Higgins Heritage Park
On a rather unpromising Tuesday in September several of our members travelled to Wakefield to visit the Steam Museum in Pigeon Valley.
The three vintage cars used to transport members to the Heritage Park from Wakefield. The one in the centre sports a petrol cap of a “Flying Quail”.
Our tour guide, Allan Palmer, has a wealth of knowledge to impart without which the visit would have been much less valuable.
Our host, Allan Palmer, treated us to a very interesting and informative tour of the complex providing us with information that he had acquired over the years he has been associated with developing it.
The Park hopes to be able to establish on the railway reserve beside the Wakefield Pharmacy on the corner of Edward Street and Clifford Road with Council approval, a replica of one of the steam engines as an advertising signpost to the site in Pigeon Valley.
The tug Awarua designed and built in Scotland for the Bluff Harbour Board. It’s engine is in the museum.
The Vice President standing by the engine of the Tug Awarua.
Rodger Quinney provides background information about the history of this tractor formerly owned by his family. The tractor was started on petrol but ran on kerosene. It was designed with a horizontal driving shaft to which a belt could be attached to run other machines e.g., a sawbench for cutting firewood. The rear towbar was designed to transfer the load to the front wheels giving greater traction.
Explanatory display board for the R & P Double Traction Wheel tractor. Only 816 of these were built in the USA. This one, No.96 was bought in 1920 by the Kerr family in Kikiwa. Later it was purchased by Rodger Quinney’s father for 49 pounds sterling. The original yellow paint was slightly less bright than shown on this model.
One of the traction engines housed at the heritage park.
One of Kirby’s Carriers trucks which was the rival company to Transport Nelson Ltd in the 1950’s and 60’s.
A fully restored horse-drawn ambulance circa 1914.
If you haven’t been to the Park, the best time to pay a visit is when some of the machinery is working which is on the first Sunday of the month from September to March. This is also the time that the heritage village of ‘Willow Bank’ (see article on this site) owned by Christine Grieder (just up the main road over the Jimmy Lee Bridge) is also open to the public – another “must see” venue in Wakefield – a settlement planned by Edward Gibbon Wakefield and the New Zealand Company 175 years ago this year.