The Southland App
The Southland App
Advocate Communications
Get it on the Apple StoreGet it on the Google Play Store
loading...
The Southland App

Farmings past captured in new Thornbury displays

The Southland App

Lindsay Beer

07 February 2024, 9:31 PM

Farmings past captured in new Thornbury displaysPart of the history & development of farming in Southland display which will be officially opened at the Thornbury Vintage Tractor & Implement Club’s facility on Saturday 17 February. Photo: Supplied

The latest achievement of the Thornbury Vintage Tractor & Implement Club will be celebrated on Saturday 17 February with an official function to mark the opening of the club’s latest addition to their Rural Heritage Centre in Thornbury.


Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds and Southland District Mayor Rob Scott will be on hand for the opening of a fantastic display that chronicles the history and development of farming in Southland in the birthplace of farming in the province.


The site of the club’s facility occupies some of the land that was part of the first farm in Southland which was developed by Captain Howell.


One of the sections in the most recent addition to the Thornbury Vintage Tractor & Implement Club’s facility, this one highlighting the clearing of bush from the land to create farms. Photo: Supplied


The latest feature includes displays on so many aspects of Southland farming – the shearing shed, freezing works, the Port of Bluff, Stock and Station Agents, fencing, sheep farming, animal health, rabbits, drainage, surveyors, early settlers and the clearing of bush from the land.


It is a fascinating wander through our farming heritage with a plethora of items and artefacts from days gone by as farming developed in our region.


Allied to the display are information panels with scripts which were the last project of John Gordon, the host of A Dog’s Show, who returned to Otautau and wrote the scripts for the various displays before he passed away in 2022.



The new display is vibrant and informative and is a record of much of what our province has been built on – farming.


The new attraction joins with the displays of machinery, trucks, farm machinery and implements that form an absolute treasure trove of items intrinsic to Southland farming over the years.


The Steam Shed contains one of the jewels in the crown of the facility, a 118hp superheated Garrett Steam Engine of which there are only three remaining in the world and this one is the only one that is still operational.



It was used in various industries including grain and seed, gold mining and sawmilling.


There is a plough that was built in Southland which, after working in the province, was taken to Christchurch to plough the land to create QEII Park in readiness for the 1974 Commonwealth Games and a gas engine used to drive the generator to provide power for the Civic Theatre in Invercargill.


At every turn there is something of interest, a remarkable achievement for a club which boasts just forty members. 



The Official Opening of the latest display on Saturday 17 February will be an invitation only event and the following day is a Locals Day from 10am to 4pm. 


The centre will also be open during March which is Heritage Month on both Saturdays and Sundays from 1.30pm to 4.30pm when admission will be just $10 per adult while under 16’s are free.



It will be a wonderful opportunity to check out one of the provinces latest heritage offerings.


The centre is signposted on State Highway 99 prior to the appropriate turn off onto the Thornbury-Waimatuku Road to reach the Thornbury township.




The Southland App
The Southland App
Advocate Communications

Get it on the Apple StoreGet it on the Google Play Store