Russell’s Crane

Posted on Jul 27, 2007 in Taonga | 0 comments

Russell Lights – Vol 10 Issue 15 – July 2007 Samuel Stephenson merchant trader of Russell imported an iron crane from England to unload coastal shipping at his premises just north of the present Russell Police Station. It was mounted on a small jetty that had wooden rails and wagons leading into his warehouse. In 1880 it was purchased by the Government and put on a new wharf on the present site at the end of Cass Street and used to unload larger shipping. Later in the 1920s a piece was welded into it so it could be used to haul up gamefish for weighing. You can still see the...

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Bottoms up

Posted on Jun 27, 2007 in Taonga | 0 comments

Russell Lights – Vol 10 Issue 13 – June 2007 This pewter tankard is believed to have been found in the ashes of the Duke of Marlborough hotel. It’s not sure if it was the first Duke that was burnt and looted in 1845, or the second burnt in the 1870s. The tankard has a glass bottom, cracked in the fire. The glass bottomed tankard seems to have come into being in the later half of the 18th century when it was advisable to keep a watchful eye on one’s drinking companions who might be pickpocketers, footpads or the approaching press gang. A recruiting sergeant might creep...

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Posted on May 27, 2007 in Taonga | 0 comments

Russell Lights – Vol 10 Issue 11 – May 2007 Russell was a port of call for visiting whalers for over a hundred years. Russell Museum has a collection of whaling related items – harpoons, whalebones, a record of ships visits in the 1870s. Whalers had a lot of spare hours at sea and turned their hands to hobbies to fill the time. They used whatever was at hand and made items they could use or to take home as gifts to family. These examples are a ladle for a water cask made with half a carved coconut shell with a whalebone handle and a whalebone pipe rack. The small knife has a...

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Soldier Doll

Posted on May 15, 2007 in Taonga | 0 comments

Russell Lights – Vol 10 Issue 9 – May 2007 This doll is dressed in the uniform of a New Zealand soldier, South African War 1899 – 1902. Such dolls are very collectible as they were home-made. The New Zealand Army Museum at Waiouru, when they visited a few years ago, claimed they didn’t have one. New Zealand volunteers to this war totalled 6495 men and 8000 horses. 228 men died – 70 in action, 133 from disease and 25 in accidents. Three young men went from Russell: Private Ludovic Colquhoun who later served in WWI Private Henry Tapua Athelston Stephenson Private Alfred...

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A Bird in the Hand

Posted on Apr 9, 2007 in Taonga | 0 comments

Russell Lights – Vol 10 Issue 7 – April 2007 On the North wall of the Russell museum’s main room is a small wooden case containing a member of the rail family. The bird has gazed through its glass fronted case for more than 150 years. It dates from 1845, when during the Battle of Kororareka, citizens left the town for safety. A small girl from the Flowerday family managed to grab her cat which had just caught a bird in the creek near the boat ramp. During the voyage to Auckland, a sailor, an amateur taxidermist, stuffed the bird which several generations later was gifted to...

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Zane Grey artefacts

Posted on Jan 9, 2007 in Taonga | 0 comments

Russell Lights – Vol 10 Issue 1 – Jan 2007 This photo of a camera, set of binoculars and telescope once belonged to American game fisherman, Zane Grey. It was given by him to his boatman in the Bay of Islands, Peter William, and purchased by the museum from Peter’s daughter, Patti, in 1994. Peter Wiliams’ boat was the Avalon. Zane Grey appreciated his skill so much he shipped launch and man to Australia to fish. Peter joined him in Florida, Tonga and other fishing Mecca. Zane Grey’s two books on fishing in the Bay really publicised the area as an ideal spot for...

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