Only seven Robey 8nhp road locomotives were ever built and only five survive today and they are the all within Canterbury, N.Z. This Robey engine now resides in the Four Peaks district. Here they are taking the back roads around Geraldine.
18 January 2013 Ashburton Courier by John Keast.
Retired engineer Don Duff has fulfilled the wish of an old mate to build a mill hut for a restored Robey traction engine. The job was completed with a day to spare, and the engine and hut were displayed at the Methven Show. For Mr Duff, who had an engineering business in Methven, building the hut was a promise to the late Don (DI) McKay, also of Methven. The hut was built for Don’s son, Andrew, who farms at Woodbury, near Geraldine, and it is ready to be taken on the road. It is fitted with a double bed, two bunks, a coal range, and a shower, driving a traction engine being a dirty business. Mr Duff and Andrew and his family took the engine and hut to the show to admiring glances. Several years ago, when Don was ill, Mr Duff and about 10 mates set about restoring the Robey engine, believed to be one of just six in New Zealand. Five still operate, and the sixth is being restored. It was fitted with new tubes, a new funnel, and given a coat of paint and it had to be completed in time for the Methven Show. It was, and soon after Mr McKay died. But Don said before he died that the engine needed a wagon, so about two and a half years ago we started building a hut, Mr Duff said. He said he and Andrew worked on the project, first securing a truck chassis. Then we built a hut on the chassis. The wooden frame is lined with bats, and match lining from an old house was used for the interior. Don used his building and engineering skills on the job, with the 7m by 4m hut having room aplenty. Four pane windows have also been fitted to give it the authentic look. ‘‘He’s (Andrew’s) rapt. He helped out a lot. Don was thought of all the way through,’’ Mr Duff said. And, as with the engine, the deadline was completion for the Methven Show. ‘‘I finished it off the day before and then a chap came and took it up to Methven,’’ he said. Mr Duff, who lives in Ashburton, is patron of the Methven Vintage Club, and a life member.
Winsome wrote: We arrived early and turned to get our bearings to view in front of us a traction engine toddling down the road in the mist - nothing to do with the celebrations at Pleasant Valley but a big part of the history of my family's past in the area! Awesome! Looking at the map they could easily have come across from Woodbury - we saw it as it was going down the Pleasant Valley Road just past the church. By taking that route it avoided the traffic. Photo taken 9th March 2013 taken at the Pleasant Valley hall intersection. The brown tin above the School Rd sign is to prevent possums from climbing up the power poles. Possums were curious creatures. Standard Possum shields are 60cm but being replaced with new shields 120cm long. Cones are sometimes fitted on stay wires to stop possums from climbing to the top of the pole. The tree to the right of the give way sign is here above the white faced polled Hereford cattle beast. This Rodney engine was probably at the Methven A&P Show on the 16th of March and probably will be back again for the Vintage Rally over Easter Weekend.
1913 Robey Road Locomotive #32701 8nhp, restored by the late Don McKay of Methven, with two wagons of wool and a whare.
Maureen wrote: The wool run Friday 16th October 2009. This was enactment of wool been carted out from a high country station by traction engine. There were four engines on the run. The wool can from Manuka Point Station and was cart across by an old ex-army Ford truck on Thursday to Double Hill Station where it was loaded onto traction engine wagons to hauled out. The morning was damp and drizzling as we pulled out. This photo was taken Double Hill Run Road just before crossing a stream (fescue tussock and matagouri in foreground) with back Mt. Hutt in background as we were on south side of Rakaia River.
What speed does a traction engine
travel at? Although the average speed of a
traction engine is only around 7 to 13 kph. The driver must be able to steam and
manage the engine as well as giving attention to other road users. A
traction engine usually has a crew of two persons, both of whom need to be
suitably qualified. The person in charge of the traction engine must have a full
Class 1 NZ driver licence and an approved engine driver or steerer
How long will it take to travel from Woodbury to Methven? Probably about 6 hours with a stop at an irrigation ditch or creek to take on water. Distance from Geraldine to Methven is 61km (38 miles).
What is being towed? The Galley. The Robey traction engine is pulling a living van aka as a stinky, galley, whare, travelling hut, camp hut or wheeled huts. At a clearing sale at Orari Gorge station 18 March 1910 five travelling huts were sold for £15, £17 10s, £19 and £29. Whare is Maori for a house or hut.
What is nhp? Nominal horsepower was used to estimate the power of steam engines and was calculated by reference to the size of the cylinder bore and the speed of the piston. Another way for calculated nhp is by finding the square of the cylinder diameter in inches and dividing by ten.
Any other use for galley? At the Geraldine sale yards a travelling hut was set up to supply morning and afternoon tea. Part of a road construction team equipment.
Timaru Herald, 13 January 1903, Page 2
An amusing incident was witnessed in Theodocia street last week, caused by the softness of some new-made roadway. A traction engine drawing a camp hut only got stuck in the street, and had to cast off its light load and put on its "shoes" before it could get out, and then wire-rope the hut along.
1910 Australasian Coachbuilder and Wheelwright, Volume 20 page 155
Mr Geo. Dash, of Waimate who calls these vehicles "wheeled huts", he says they are very much used in Canterbury as cook houses to accompany the threashing and chaff pants, road and farm ploughing contractors, etc. As these travel around a good deal, Mr. Dash conceived the capital idea of turning the blank spaces on the sides to account for advertising purposes. The bold attractive sign, with its suggestion of humour, shows a good of use as been made of the space. As might naturally be expected, even on casual examination, there is a story attached to the remarkable looking horse that the artist has depicted, which we are tempted to relate, but had perhaps better leave Mr. Dash to tell himself on some future occasion.
Wisps of Tussock: New Zealand Rhymes
By David McKee Wright
The Old Station Days
They tell me that Harry's up-country, at work on the station again,
Where the sun still remembers to shine, and the mornings are crisp on the plain.
A little world all of our own - eight miles from a church or a pub.
And the men - oh, the men that were there! - big hearts and strong hands, that we knew:
Heathens all, but they somehow did things that would honour a Christian to do.
The summers of heat and of wind, and the changes that made the long day,
The dew in the early dawn, on the river flats misty and grey,
The cobwebs, like trappings of pearl, that jewelled the scrub brushes over,
The toi-toi that slept by the stream, and the hoggets down-stringing through clover,
It all comes to me now, like a dream of an older time-
We watched the deeds of the world like men and nations at play.
Those days are gone and forever, and over all is a change-
But the chimneys dotting the flat will tell their story for long,
Of a life that was fresh and fair, and of men that were true and strong.