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  • Nigel Gamble

Nige's Museum Review .

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

Over the years I have been lucky enough to visit a number of museum's and collections around New Zealand, within this blog I intended to write about some of these visits.

Visit to Christchurch’s Ferrymead Heritage Park.

During a recent trip to Christchurch, we found ourselves with a few hours to fill in, as it had been at least twenty years since my last visit, and for Anna her first- we decided to go and have a look around the Ferrymead Heritage Park.

Situated in the Heathcote Valley, the park setting is that of an early colonial village built around what was once part of the first railway system to be established in NZ.

Ferrymead’s main street is adorned by early Victorian style houses and shops, all with well laid out display depicting what life was like back in early New Zealand. Running through the main street is a tram line, complete with working electric trams for visitors to ride upon, scattered amongst the buildings are gardens and large trees affording visitors like us some much needed shelter from the sun, as the day we visited the temperature was well above 30c.

There are many large building about the grounds, these contain various collections held by numerous interest groups that make up the Heritage Park, a large hanger complex houses a DC3 aircraft that once flew missions to the Antarctic, alongside that is an old NAC airways Viscount, complete with loading dock and luggage and refuelling equipment. In another building a WW2 twin engine Mosquito fighter bomber is being restored. Other aeronautical equipment is on display about these buildings, along with much information and history from the local districts aviation past.

One of the trams making its way along the main street of Ferrymead, in the background can be seen the old printers shop, this shop is quite surprising as from the outside it appears to by small in size, but once you enter the building you soon find this is not the case at all, as this houses a large collection of working printing presses and other related equipment.

Possibly the biggest collection of fire appliances and fire fighting equipment can be viewed in the Fire Services Historical Society’s display housed on the site, And the model railway is a very impressive and intricately set out display.

There is a fantastic collection of Farm machinery as well as cars and trucks and other interesting equipment, all of which is perfectly restored and thoughtfully set out, many with informative information boards to be read.

A typical scene from back in the day, in this display a farmer is working to fix his Farmall tractor.

There is a lot to see at Ferrymead, something for everyone to enjoy no matter what your interests are, from road to rail, or paddock to city centre , heritage from all facets of life can be viewed around the park, so allow yourself plenty of time to have a wander around.

It was noticeable that some of the interest groups that have an involvement in Ferrymead are no longer as strong as they had been in the past, which is a shame, but this is a problem all clubs

struggle with as time goes by and people move on. But what has been achieved here is fantastic, it was great to see some very passionate people going about looking after the items on display. If you’re in Christchurch and have some spare time- do go and have a look.

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