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 joins of the splice today.

It was replaced by a new crane in 1972, and the old crane went to Whangarei. It was the enquiries of Marie King, Russell Museum’s Curator, who finally located it in a Northland Harbour Board shed. It was sandblasted and returned in 1984, erected by Graham Townsend and painted by Jim Yearbury.

Just recently it has had a major restoration and repaint by Bruce Howell and continues to look to sea watching visiting vessels of all sizes as it has for 140 years.