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Traction Engines and Stationary Steam Engines in South Canterbury, N.Z. in October, 2011

1908 Fowler, No. 1152  one year later at Ellesmere  2013

What year was the big fly wheel filled in on traction engines? When the engines where ordered from the Factory they ask for a spoked or solid centre fly wheels. Traction engines were used to move heavy loads on roads like threshing machines and cart wool to a railway station and to provide power to run threshing mills, saw mills etc. by means of a continuous leather belt driven by the flywheel. They were robust and powerful self propelled machines. Contractors travelled from farm to farm. 1897 Fowler and another Fowler. 1912


A portable engine is a small steam engine, mounted on wheels or skids, which is used for driving machinery using a belt from its flywheel and was towed to the work site by horses or bullocks, or even a traction engine. Portable engines were used mainly for driving agricultural machinery such as threshing machines. These photos were taken at the annual South Canterbury Traction Engine & Vintage Machinery Club Open Day held at Seadown the first weekend in Oct. 2011 by M.T. 

W.J. Clarke Memorial Rally March 2003  Bill (WJ) Clarke had 150 men working for him and spent his working life time harvesting the golden grain. His son-in-law, Tom Kyle, later took over the mills.
Bill Clarke And The Threshing Mills pt2
Waimate Workers 1906
South Canterbury Traction Engine Drivers 1907 
Heritage Day Timaru Jan. 2012 miniature
S.C.S.V.C. Country Fair March, 2012. fair

Star 4 February 1879, Page 2
Fowler's Traction Engines. The trial of one of these engines will take place at Mr John Grigg's homestead, on Thursday next. Mr Noakes has completed all the necessary arrangements, and it is expected that a large number of farmers will be present to witness the trial. It is proposed to take the first load of grain from Longbeach to Winslow, this season, by means of this engine.

Albury engine.


Timaru Herald, 29 April 1874, Page 3
A nasty accident occurred on the beach on Monday. While lifting the new locomotive at the George-street Landing Service the crane broke and knocked a workman named Wiltshire violently to the ground. No bones were broken, but he was so severely shaken that it will be some time before he will be able to resume work.

Auckland Star, 17 April 1885, Page 2
At Timaru last night a man named John Rock, who was carrying a lantern before a traction engine in the street was run over by the engine and killed.

Timaru Herald, 24 April 1895, Page 2
The very melancholy accident which occurred at Pleasant Point on Thursday last, by which a little girl lost her life, has naturally drawn some attention to traction engine traffic in this part of the colony. Yesterday we published a letter from Mr E. Acton on the subject, and we notice that at the inquest, where he presided as acting-Coroner, he made a few remarks as to the state of the law in relation to the traffic. With regard to the circumstances attending the accident, it seems that the driver of the engine out of good nature asked the deceased child and some of her companions to have a ride in one of the trucks. The invitation was accepted, and the engine was stopped to allow the children to get up. Afterwards, and when the engine was again in motion, several other children got up and subsequently jumped off again before a stoppage was made. It may appear rather hard measure to blame the men in charge of the engine, when their motive in giving the children a lift was a kindly desire to save them from a somewhat long walk to the township. Nevertheless we cannot escape from the conclusion that if a person chooses to take little children into a vehicle of any sort, but especially into the trucks of a traction engine, he incurs the responsibility of looking after them until they are again in safety on terra forma, Of the moral responsibility there can be no doubt whatever, and perhaps, if the point were to be tested in a court of law, it might be found that, there was also a legal responsibility in case of accident arising in consequence of the person in charge not having done all that he could to look after the safety of the child. Mr Acton remarked at the inquest that "if men took children into traps or trucks they incurred a moral, responsibility to see them safely down again." He said nothing about the legal responsibility, but we should not be sorry to see the question settled one way or the other. In the Pleasant Point case the jury found that "the death was purely accidental, and no blame is attached to anyone." We ought not, however, to omit to mention that the following rider was added These engines should have a man riding behind to act as guard, especially through towns, to prevent children getting up or down while the engine is in motion.' Whilst, therefore, the jury imputed no blame to anyone, and indeed may be said to have gone out to their way to state distinctly that in their opinion no one was to blame, they appear to have had an uncomfortable feeling of doubt as to whether their judgment on that point was altogether sound. If the jury thought that traction engines ought to have a man behind to act as guard, they must have included the engine in connection with which the pleasant Point accident occurred and if there had been such a guard, we suppose that the jury would have held that he ought to have acted m such a way as would have effectually prevented the accident. If this unfortunate child had belonged to one of the jury he probably would not have been so ready to say that no blame attached to any one. Circumstances alter cases, and as no juryman was the father of the child, no one was to blame in connection with her terrible death. At the conclusion of Mr Acton's letter he just alluded to the question of whether trains drawn by engines ought to be permitted on the public roads. A great many people regard them as abominable nuisances. They certainly do an enormous amount of damage to roads and bridges, and are a serious source of danger to horsemen and persons travelling in ordinary conveyances. They are also a great and frequent source of danger to children, for if no other little child has been killed in South Canterbury, there have been many narrow escapes.

Timaru Herald, 9 April 1890, Page 3
An inquest was hold at the courthouse, Temuka, on Monday last, before K. F. Gray, Esq., acting Coroner, touching the death of Albert Alfred Nicholas, son of Mr N. C. Nicholas, of Temuka. The following jury were empanelled : — Messrs E.H. Brewer (foreman), W. Storey, M. McAteer, A. W. Gaze, E. Williams, and W. McLeod.
John Young, a cook in the employ of Mr M. Scannell, threshing mill proprietor, stated that on Saturday last, he was riding in the cooking galley behind the machine engine, when his attention was called by a little boy to the deceased who was lying in the middle of the road. Witness ran to him and found him insensible and apparently lifeless. He then called to Mr Scannell who was driving to stop the engine, and picking up the boy carried him to Dr Hayes' residence, which was quite near.
Dr J. S. Hayes opinion the boy had been riding on the drawbar of the galley and, falling off, the wheel had passed partially over the head.
Robert Pinckney, accountant at Temuka, deposed to passing the traction engine on the road on his bicycle. He saw deceased riding upon the drawbar of the galley.
Frederick Radford, a lad of fourteen, stated that just before the accident he saw deceased fall off the drawbar of the galley which passed over him
N. G. Nicholas, stablekeeper at Temuka, stated that deceased was his son. His age was 4 years and 4 months. He last saw him alive 6 o'clock on Saturday morning. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Otago Witness, 22 March 1894, Page 22
The Waimate correspondent of the Oamaru Mail reports that a fatal accident occurred at the Otaio bridge on Saturday about dusk. George Sullivan was driving a traction engine to Waimate, and when coming up out of the Otaio river bed, something went wrong with the steering gear, so the engine started to run backwards. A man named Bennett and the boy Sullivan jumped off, and the engine ran over them and capsised at the bottom of the incline. Assistance was procured, and they were both taken to Waimate, but Bennett expired before reaching the hospital. Sullivan's injuries were promptly attended to by Dr Barclay, and on Sunday he was progressing favourably.

Otago Witness 22 March 1894, Page 22
Another accident occurred to an old man named Bennett, who was known to some in the district as a cook in camps. It appears that he was offered a ride on a traction engine by a man named Sullivan, who was bringing the engine from Christchurch to Waimate, and in coming up the bank of the Otaio river one of the driving pinions broke, and the engine commenced to run back. The deceased, in jumping off, fell under the wheels and sustained injuries which resulted in his death two hours later while being driven to the hospital. At the subsequent "inquest, held this afternoon, a verdict of " Accidental death " was returned. An opinion is obtaining in this district that drivers of traction engines ought to be compelled to pass an examination as to their qualifications for the, position, and it is a much needed reform.

Grey River Argus, 17 April 1885, Page 2
Timaru, April 16. A man named John Rock was accidentally run over to-day by a traction engine belonging to William Christie of Seadown. It appears that the deceased was walking in front of the engine holding a lantern on account of it being dark. The driver of the engine saw the light l suddenly disappear, and on pulling up found that the engine had run over the deceased, and partially crushed him. He was brought into the hospital and died this morning. Deceased was a single man.  

 Aveling and Porter steamroller


Timaru Herald, 1 December 1891, Page 4 County of Mackenzie special bylaws.
Counties had traction engine by laws for a locomotive engine propelled by steam, not being used on a railway or a tramway.
a. A strict and efficient lookout shall be maintained behind as well as in front when an engine is propelled upon or along a public road. Half an hour after sunset and half an before sunrise any such engine shall provide two efficient lights one on each side of the front and one efficient tail light in the rear'; or by the rear when waggons or carriages are drawn by such engine.
b. At least two persons shall be employed to drive every traction engine.
c. Whenever any person who shall be riding or horseback, or driving a horse or horses in a vehicle, or leading a horse upon a public road, shall be approaching an engine, and shall sufficiently indicate his desire that the driver shall thereupon immediately stop such engine.
d. The speed of an engine shall not exceed five miles per hour along any public road, and three miles per hour through any town or village, and shall not exceed two miles an hour while crossing any bridge or culvert.
e. The whistle of an engine shall not be sounded nor the cylinder be tapped opened or steam blown off, within sight of any person riding, driving, loading or in charge of a horse upon a road.
f.No engine shall pass along or come upon any bridge at any time while any person with a horse or carriage drawn by a horse is on such bridge; nor shall any engine or waggon attached thereto be permitted to stop on any bridge or culvert.
g. Any fire or ashes to be completely extinguished along any road.
h. No waggon drawn by an engine shall carry more than six tons weight.
i. The person in charge of an engine shall give immediate notice to Engineer or Clerk of the County or Road Foreman, of any damage or injury done by engine or waggon attached hereto to any roadway, fence, bridge, culvert, watercourse, drain, ditch.
j. Every owner of an engine shall cause his name and address to be painted or marked on such engine, on the off-side thereof, and when such owner possesses more than one engine each engine shall have a separate number and maximum weight of water and coals, and the exact and true weight of every waggon drawn by any engine, shall be painted in like manner.
h. The owner of every engine hall on the first Monday in the month of January in each year or immediately after bringing any engine into the county, send a description of such engine together with his name and address and the number of the engine to the county Clerk.
i. The driver to carry a printed copy of these bylaws and a certificate of registration and shall exhibit the same on demand.
John McGregor and Andrew Cowan, Members of Council, 25th Nov. 1891. R.L. Banks, County Clerk. 

Timaru Herald, 1 January 1895, Page 2
The Waimate police have laid information against the proprietor of the steam merry-go-round, for not having a name painted on his traction engine, and for working on Sunday.  

Timaru Herald, 5 May 1906, Page 4
Mackenzie County Councillors are divided in opinion regarding the value of traction engine haulage to the industries of the county. Some, of them would, be glad to crush others desire only to keep loads within what appear to them to be reasonable limits. One member thought that if loads are limited by by-laws, smaller engines will be used to haul them. Another replied that a small engine takes as many men to manage it as a big one, therefore small ones cannot be so profitable.

The Blackstone Oil Engine was used for powering smaller machinery round the farm e.g. small chaff cutter, saw bench etc;


Timaru Herald, 19 April 1871, Page 2
Bruce's Traction Engine. This engine started from Waimate on Thursday for the Waitongi to fetch the timber carriages that have been built for it at Oamaru. It was delayed on the road from want of coal, and did not get back to Waimate till Saturday evening. The engineer, Mr J. Durward, stated that its performance was .It will start for Timaru on Thursday, when we shall have an opportunity to judge of its working capabilities.

Timaru Herald, 26 October 1881, Page 3
The ordinary monthly meeting of the Board was held in the Road Board Office, Peel Forest, on Friday, the 21st inst. members present. Hon. J. B. A. Acland (Chairman), and Messrs Tripp, Heney, and Mackay. The Overseer was instructed to write to the Chief Surveyor, asking for a plan of Arundel township, Rangitata bridge; to arrange with Mrs Moorhouse for having two trees on the top of the sidling cutting in Peel Forest cut down to make arrangements with Mr Button for rolling the road leading to the railway station and the road in Peel Forest with his traction engine.

Timaru Herald, 8 June 1888, Page 2
Mr J. Streeter's traction engine had a narrow escape from being capsized on Wednesday afternoon near the Temuka traffic bridge. The track beside the bridge is very narrow and considerably higher on one aide than the other, which caused the engine to run off. As it was impossible to go forward on account of the swampy nature of the ground, assistance was obtained and the combine drawn back and securely blocked. The wire rope having beeu attached to it the engine was enabled to draw itself from its dangerous petition. Fortunately it escaped without damage.

Timaru Herald, 30 August 1889, Page 2
On Wednesday afternoon, Mr T. Park, of Milford, drove to the Temuka station and left his mare while he carried some parcels to the booking office. The mare became frightened by a passing traction engine, and bolted out of the yard and up to Dyson street corner, and then turned down towards the river at far as Birkett street, where she was stopped. The trap was capsized and considerably damaged. The mare was very lame, and had apparently injured her.

Timaru Herald, 3 March 1892, Page 3
Temuka — Tuesday, March 1st, 1892. (Before C. A. Wray, Esq.. R.M.)
William Oldfield was charged with having taken a traction-engine along a main road in Temuka without having a man in front and behind the same; also with having crossed the Temuka bridge with a traction engine, weighing more than six tons. The charge was admitted. He was also charged with having crossed the Opihi bridge with a traction engine and combine, the latter not being detached 40ft as required by the Act.
    John B. Goldsmith was charged with driving an engine along the road without having a man before and behind. Constable Morton gave evidence to the effect that he was driving with Mr J. T. M. Hayhurst along the Milford road, when he met defendant and another man driving a traction engine. There was nobody in front of the engine nor behind unless he was in the galley. The engine was stopped about three chains away. F. Hall stated that on the day in question there was one man accompanying the engine. At the time the constable approached with Mr Hayhurst the man was walking alongside the wheel opposite to them, and they could not see him. He went forward when they stopped and could have assisted them if necessary. Another man was sitting on the steps of the galley, and had a good view of the road behind. The driver was very careful, and stopped the engine as soon as he saw the trap within 150 yards.

Timaru Herald, 17 March 1893, Page 2
At the Waimate Resident Magistrates Court, yesterday, before Messrs Manchester and Hassell, J.Ps. Frank Slee was charged with a breach of the Wataki bridge by-laws, by giving untrue particulars to obtain a permit for crossing his traction engine over the bridge. Defendant was fined 10s, court costs 23s, witnesses' expenses £3 0s 9d, and solicitor's fee 21s. The same defendant was further charged with a breach of the Waitaki bridge by-laws by taking a traction engine above the legal tonnage across the bridge. Defendant was fined 10s and 7s court costs.

Timaru Herald, 4 May 1894, Page 3
To the editor of the Timaru Herald. Sir, wish to comment through your paper on the really wonderful improvement that has been made on the Mackenzie Country roads through traction engines travelling over them for the purpose of carting wool this season. The road between Fairlie and Tekapo, which used to be exceedingly rough in some places, with boulders and rocks projecting through the metal, making it both dangerous and unpleasant for tourist traffic, is now quite smooth, and it was with pleasure that I listened to the remarks of tourists who had travelled the road before, on the quite unexpected change for the better.— The same change is experienced in travelling over the road from Tekapo to Pukaki, although in a lesser degree, as the engines have only been over it once or twice. This part of the road is merely a narrow track formed by dray and coach traffic, and in one or two places strewn with a light covering of metal, which is not in the least degree serviceable. The boulders on this track were very numerous and projected so much that it was really dangerous to travel over. The greater portion of them have been crushed effectually out of sight, and the track is so widened as to make it possible to avoid others which were not so easily disposed of. The County Council this year metalled a portion of the road, viz. Simon's Pass cutting. The metal used was so rough that it was almost impassable, and had not Mr Chaffey taken his engines up and down it a few times, tourists would have been obliged to walk to the top, the horses finding it quite difficult enough to drag the empty coach. Neither I nor any of my drivers have ever experienced the slightest difficulty in passing these engines on the road, and we have passed them on some of the very worst portions with four-in hands, made up of horses that have never been near anything of the kind before, and on several occasions have pulled in alongside and delivered letters and parcels to the drivers, and I must certainly attribute any such difficulty to nervousness on the part of those in charge of horses or traps; There is not the slightest doubt that Mr Chaffey has rendered the county most substantial service by forming what were before merely rough tracks into roads pleasurable to drive over, and I am glad to be able to bring this before the public generally through the medium of your paper. And I hope when the Pukaki bridge is finished, the Council will give him a fair remuneration to run on the portion of the road between there and Mount Cook, that he may do for that what he has done for the rest. Thanking you in anticipation, I am, &c, Thos. Shaw, Proprietor Mount Cook Coaches. Fairlie, May 2nd, 1894.

Star 12 June 1895, Page 1
The Mackenzie County Council recently passed a resolution to stop the use of traction engines for transport purposes on the county roads. As one owner still continues at work, the Council has given instructions that he will be prosecuted under their by-law.

Timaru Herald, 4 September 1900, Page 3
The Mackenzie County Council held their monthly meeting yesterday. Present Messrs F. R. Gillingham (chairman), Mc- Lean, Hamilton, Rutherford, and Burnett. Repairs to Rollesby Valley road were ordered to be done as soon as the men are available. It was decided that a traction engine be hired to roll some rough portions of the main road when the stones have been broken.

Timaru Herald, 14 December 1887, Page 2
An amusing little conversation took place at the Levels Road Board meeting yesterday. Mr Plante was engaged in flourishing over the head of his right hand neighbour the menace that, if the tram were disallowed, the contractors would use traction engines, when another member, a well known property manager, observed that if they did use traction engines "he, for one, would vote for spreading 6 inches of metal along the road, and let the traction engines crush that in." This startling suggestion took away the board's breath for a moment.

Timaru Herald, 19 December 1894, Page 2
The owner of the traction engine who had tendered for the carriage of the Benmore wool to Oamaru, has met with a series of misadventures which were enough to discourage a stoic. He brought his engine from Christchurch, and to cheapen the cost, decided to travel down by road, but when he came to the first railway bridge he, found he could not cross unless on a railway truck. He then found, to save trouble, that it would be better to travel by rail all the way, although much was much more expensive. On reaching Oamaru he proceeded by road to Benmore, with five waggons and a covered-in express. Everything went well until the Ahuriri river was reached. This river was slightly up, but the owner of the traction engine thought it safe to negotiate, and plunged in. The water, however, was high enough to put the fire out and frighten the drivers. The engine could not be taken out of the river, and there it stands. Another traction engine has gone to its assistance, and it is expected it will be able to go on to Benmore for wool immediately after the other engine reaches the river. Every available corner of Benmore is filled with wool, and the mishap to the engine will put the station to considerable inconvenience.

Timaru Herald, 10 April 1895, Page 2
Mr McLeod had a narrow escape of a serious accident with his traction engine on Thursday last. He was proceeding to thresh oats for the Raincliff Estate and on attempting to cross the first bridge on the Middle Valley road the engine broke through, arid the hind part fell a distance of five feet. Luckily no one wag hurt, and the engine escaped any damage. After working some hours the men got it level, got up steam, backed it out, and proceeded to their destination, by a round-about way. The bridge is a complete wreck. Mr Sheehan, surfaceman for the Mount Peel Road Board, quickly got the road open for light traffic, by filling up the span with clay.

Timaru Herald, 13 April 1895, Page 4
Opening of the Pukaki Bridge. the bridge
The bridge is designed to carry traction engine traffic, and is visibly as well as theoretically strong enough for the purpose, all the timber being of Australian hardwood. The bridge is therefore not only strong now, but will retain its strength for many years.  

Timaru Herald, 6 June 1895, Page 3
The owner of the traction engine that destroyed the gate leading to the Opihi bridge ford, has paid the amount of damage claimed. 

Timaru Herald, 12 February 1898, Page 2
Mr J. B. Wareing, of Milford, met with an accident on Thursday afternoon. He was driving from Temuka to his residence shortly after noon, when at an angle of the road near Kynnersley he suddenly met a traction engine and plant. His mare wheeled round, capsized the gig and Mr Wareing was thrown out, receiving several injuries, including a dislocation of the shoulder, necessitating surgical attendance. The men with the machine did all they could to assist Mr Wareing.

Timaru Herald, 15 July 1898, Page 2
Mr Drysdale's traction engine was doing duty as a street roller yesterday, to the great improvement of the newly metalled streets.

Timaru Herald, 8 May 1900, Page 3
Mr Wreathall mentioned that a traction engine had broken through the metal, and half buried itself on one of the newly metalled roads on Albury Settlement.

Timaru Herald, 4 May 1907, Page 2
The engineer reported that one of Wigley and Thornley's traction engines had been taken over the Ohau bridge during April, contrary to the by-law, and the matter had been reported to the Waitaki County Council, under whose control this bridge is. Mr Banks said that some damage had been done, including the breaking of five joists. Mr Walter Black had offered to pay the cost of making the bridge suitable for engine traffic. The engineer was instructed to ascertain the amount of damage, and if possible to meet the Waitaki Council's engineer at the bridge.

Press, 13 July 1918, Page 3
Waimate. Several traction-engine owners are continuing the haulage of produce spite of the County Council's prohibition, which dates from July 4th to September 4th. The roads are in good order. Moreover, the Supreme. Court decision in the case of Meredith and Co. v. the Levels County, has emboldened engine owners. There were seven degrees of frost yesterday morning. Canning Bros.' traction-engine was in the Waihaorunga district when the snowstorm came. The frost which ensued burst the ejector pipes, causing serious damage to the engine.

Marshall Sons & Co. Gainsborough, England Stationary Engine No. 6395


Timaru Herald, 21 April 1883, Page 3
Notice. TO CONTRACTORS, LARGE LANDED AND THRESHING MACHINE PROPRIETORS. The undersigned are now booking orders J. Fowler and Co.'s, Steam Plough Works, Leeds, AGRICULTURAL TRACTION ENGINES for Next Season. They especially direct attention to Fowler's Patent Compound Agricultural Traction Engine, High and Low Pressure Cylinders. The Pressure of the Exhaust Steam being only 81bs, the consumption of fuel and water is 30 per cent less than ordinary engines. For instance, say au ordinary engine combines 6cwt Coal for a day's work, a Compound Engine will only require 4cwt ; and with the same quantity of water to start with, the Compound Engine will travel at least One-Third Greater Distance than the Ordinary High-pressure Engine. Catalogues, Prices, and all Particulars on application. ROBT. WILKIN & CO., Timaru and Christchurch.  

Timaru Herald, 17 January 1885, Page 3
N.Z.L. & M.A. Co. THRESHING PLANT FOR SALE. THE following Magnificent Threshing Plant, by the celebrated makers, Ruston, Proctor and Co.. of Lincoln, is now Open for Sale : — Landed ex "Asterion" — ONE 5ft 10-Horse Power PATENT FINISHING MACHINE To arrive per " Rakaia " — ONE 8-Horse Power IMPROVED HIGH PRESSURE TRACTION ENGINE. These Machines are fitted with all the Latest and best Improvements, and R. P. and Co.'s Engines and Machines are acknowledged to be the best imported.

Timaru Herald, 30 December 1886, Page 3
Moody and Ziesler. AGENTS FOR B. HORNSBY & SONS, Limited, CELEBRATED AGRICULTURAL IMPLEMENTS. Haymaking Season. HORNSBY COMPOUND MOWERS, for either Hay or Grain ON SALE. ALSO, HORNSBY STEEL STRING BINDER, Now clearing all before it in Australia. L Orders now being booked for next Season's Work. ALSO, HORNSBY TRACTION ENGINE AND COMBINE, to arrive in December.

Timaru Herald, 24 November 1890, Page 3
Mundell and Co., instructed by Mr M. Scannell, have for Sale — 1 8-h.p. Traction Engine, by Fowler and Co. 15 ft drum Hornsby Combine with Elevators, Water Cart, Galley, and all necessary appurtenances. The above are in first-class working order, and will be sold Cheap and on Easy Terms. Full particulars on application to A. SCOTT, Temuka Agent.

Timaru Herald, 6 July 1896, Page 3
A deputation from the Traction Engine Owners and Certificated drivers Association was then introduced, consisting of Messrs W. G. Campbell (president), Mahoney (secretary), Nelson, Walker, Drysdale, Goldsmith and Preddy.

Timaru Herald, 12 December 1899, Page 2
Mr R Calvert has got another traction engine to drive the stone-crusher at the Harbour works, and resumed crushing yesterday. In the meantime he has a hundred yards or so to crush for road metal for Wharf Street. The engine is Mr F. Pigeon's a powerful two cylinder one of Fodens make, and it runs the crusher as smoothly as a grindstone.

Timaru Herald, 13 July 1896, Page 1
Having Purchased a SAW BENCH and TRACTION ENGINE I am prepared to take ORDERS for CUTTING WOOD into SHORT LENGTHS suitable for making Hurdles, Gates, Boards, etc. Any orders left at Mr Simpson's store, Gleniti, will be punctually attended to. J. F. DOUGLAS, GLENITI.

Timaru Herald, 10 July 1886, Page 3
Undersigned have received instructions from Mr W. V. Christie, Sea- down, to Sell by Auction, as above — Traction Engine, 8-horse power, with Combine and Elevators complete, in thorough good working order. The above can be inspected at Mr Christie's Farm. James A. Gracie & Co.

Timaru Herald, 29 June 1895, Page 3
Studholme Junction. 4th July. Guniness & LeCren, have received instructions from Mr J. O'Donoghue, to Sell by Public Auction, at above time and place. The owner having purchased a traction engine has decided to relinquish contracting, therefore the whole are for bona fide sale.

Timaru Herald, 27 October 1898, Page 3
Timaru Show. IMPLEMENTS. Stand Reid and Gray— This firm's stand suffered a good deal through the late fire at their Dunedin works, a number of articles prepared for the show having been burned. They nevertheless had an extensive show, and an attractive one through running machinery, a new Clayton and Shuttleworth thresher with the latest improvements, including concave fitted with Saunders' wearing bars. Messrs Reid and Gray are now fitting all the threshers supplied by them with these bars, having to make new concaves to fit them upon, and they are giving great satisfaction. A specimen concave was to have been shown but it was destroyed in the fire. The machine was driven by a Burrell traction engine, that looked quite as good as new after its nine seasons' service. A belt off the thresher kept a Deering pony binder in motion.

Timaru Herald, 6 January 1900, Page 3
For sale by tender. A COMPLETE CHAFFCUTTING PLANT, comprising 1 6-horse power Traction Engine by Aveling and Porter, having Government certificate for 120 1bs, together with all the necessary Plant for working the same efficiently. All particulars can be obtained from Mr John Hunt, Queen Street, Waimate. 

Timaru Herald 13 Jan. 1896
Timaru Herald 1 Feb. 1899

Timaru Courier June 3 2010 pg 7
Steam’s arrival cost forestry jobs

THE earliest industry in South Canterbury just had to be sawmilling. The forests were there near Waimate and around Geraldine, and there was an urgent demand for building timber, with totara, especially, in great demand in Timaru, Geraldine and Temuka. Licences were cheap and restrictions were few, so the runholders were quick to freehold forest blocks. After the logs were hauled out by bullocks, the pit sawyers went to work. Pit sawing was not easy or pleasant work, but it was the only way to cut logs accurately with the equipment available at that time. The two man team had first to carry the long saw, with its crosshandles at each end, into the bush where trees were to be felled. The sawpit was usually set on a slight slope or in a hollow so that the logs could be easily positioned above it, and to minimise the depth of the pit that had to be dug.

Large logs, after being hauled there by bullocks, were usually split down the centre parallel to the ‘‘shake’’, the slight natural fault or split found in many logs, as this wasted less timber. The half log, its flat face uppermost, was set over the pit and steel ‘‘dogs’’ were used to pin it in position to prevent it rolling. A string smeared with charcoal and water paste was snapped on to the flat of the log to mark out the cut, or a chalk line might be drawn. One sawyer stood on the log and the other stood six feet below in the pit and the long crosscut saw was gently started on the marked line. The two men worked very much as a team, with rhythmical, deceptively easy strokes. The teeth of a pitsaw raked downward so that the lower man had to supply the power and had to avoid the continuous shower of sawdust that would otherwise get into his eyes and hair and down the back of his neck. The top man lifted the saw and made sure it followed the line precisely. Surprisingly, the men disliked changing places, as each man became used to his job and a change would upset the rhythm of the work. The total production for a long day’s work was only 12 to 14 boards, but technology was eventually to improve this — and take their jobs away. The industrial revolution had started with the application of steam to machinery, through James Watt’s work in 1769. Progress was rapid from then on, and it was only a matter of time before the steam sawmill took over the laborious work of the pit sawyers. Steam sawmills appeared in the United States as early as 1826, and in 1866 the first steam sawmill, with its circular blade, came into the Geraldine district. The pit sawyers could not compete with this.

Timber cutting at that time had few restrictions; there was no limit to the quantity that could be taken, and licences cost only 10 shillings a month, so it was open slather. The Talbot Forest had originally consisted of an estimated 2000 acres of totara and black and white pine, but very soon much of it had been made freehold and cleared. A report to the Government in 1876 by Daniel Robertson, an experienced Scottish forester, was scathing, concluding: ‘‘I am astonished at the reckless and improvident manner in which the timber lands in Canterbury have been managed the timber, the growth of ages, has been treated as an encumbrance on the land rather than a source of wealth apparently without a thought being given to the value of the crop or the future necessities of the province. Perhaps this is the reason there is so much senseless waste in its removal.’’

Unfortunately, there are few records of the early work of the pit sawyers, but there are a few more details available about the men who set up the first steam sawmill. The firm which put the pit sawyers out of work was Mackenzie and McKissock. Not much is known about McKissock (one source refers to the McKissock — or McKissack — brothers), but David McKenzie was born in Perth, Scotland, and came to New Zealand via Australia about 1864. In 1866 he moved to Geraldine, bought a large area of Raukapuka bushland from John Studholme, and lived in a house on the hill above his steam sawmill. The Timaru Herald records in the shipping notes on January 19, 1866, that the brigantine Spray from Invercargill had arrived with a quantity of saw milling machinery for Mr McKenzie, and that he intended to have his steam sawmill at Raukapuka, about half a mile north of the traffic bridge over the Waihi River. McKenzie later became known as a builder and architect. Advertisements on his behalf called for tenders for the construction of a hotel at Rangitata Bridge (August 9, 1884) and for a new Volunteer Hall to be built opposite Pearpoint’s Store (February 5, 1886). However, he died aged 55 in August that year.

Full steam ahead: Waimate’s first steam sawmill, owned by James Prince. The new technology took over the laborious work of the pit-sawyers, and accelerated the rapid felling of South Canterbury’s forest stands. Photo: South Canterbury P2982 


Thompson, Isaac Moorhead, 1905-  The Lyalldale Waltz : a light-hearted look at rural life about South Canterbury over the past seventy years. 219p with 100s of black and white photos. Lyalldale, 1975. Written years ago by a settler descendant, though it is not as thorough as John Button's book, it is more of a family history of the district.  Published by the author. Printed by the Timaru Herald. HB with dj. A light-hearted look at rural life about South Canterbury 1905-75.  The most outstanding contribution is on Traction Engines within this book. Loads of photos, documentation of numerous traction engines their owners and descriptions. 1976 second printing.  Robin Thompson steering for Don Clarke - Lyalldale Rally Thompson names engines, owners, and gives descriptions of engines shown at a rally held in New Zealand at Southbrook on June 21, 1958. He tells of the formation of a traction engine club. One chapter entitled 'Mucking About With Traction Engines,' relates some funny happenings and describes some personalities. Isaac Thompson has known hard work, and fun, and good friends. 'The Lyalldale Waltz' tells us about it. Many of the New Zealand expressions were new to us, but served to intrigue rather than confuse. as 'Ike' would say, 'putting on the stook.' If you get the book, turn to page 98 for the explanation. You also learn a lot about sheep, rabbits and gorse.  Map on front pastedown of Pareora Estate with Kopje identified in red ink.  A history of the author's family and life from 1862 on, at Kopje in Lyalldale & the area, located between the Pareora River & the Otaio River, where they empty into the South Pacific. Illustrated with over 100 B&W photos of early tractors & traction engines, farm life, family & friends.

Early Beginnings
Schooling and Fooling
Dances, Balls and Brawls
'Firsts' at Lyalldale
Harvesting, Shearing and Hi-Jinx
Characters Around the Sheds
'Dads Army' and Other Identities
Boilers, Engines and Engineers
Cropping Around Lyalldale
Hospital Hospitality
Reading, Writing and Listening
The Lyalldale Waltz
Family, Friends and Fishing
Mucking About With Traction Engines
Formation of Traction Engine Club
The Fowler Gyrotiller
Engines, Owners and Descriptions
Sporting Organisations
Motorcycle Scrambles Antics
Pareora Football Club

  The Lyalldale Waltz - photos. 
Burrell 3438  Burrell 3255

Robin Thompson steering for Don  Clarke of Totara - on the balancing logs, Lyalldale Rally

Timaru Herald, 12 September 1898, Page 4
The Winchester Flax Mill. The enterprising proprietor, Mr T. L. Hart, explained all the processes for converting the raw material into the finished article in the shape of beautifully dressed fibre. The works, which are prettily situated on the Smithfield Creek, about a hundred yards from the Smithfield Wool Works, give employment to 33 men and youths and about 35 tons of green flax are used every week. The motive power for working the machinery is supplied by one traction and one portable engine, each eight-horse power. Mr George South it chief engineer, and his fine traction-engine is a host in itself. The traction engine drives the strippers, and the portable engine drives the scutchers. The flax, which is obtained from the surrounding district, is carted to the mill and put through the strippers (2). and carried along, a little gangway working on rollers, were it is received by youths shaken, tied into small bundles, and passed through the water scutcher. It is then steeped in troughs for two hours, the creek there supplying abundance of the clearest water, and then carted out to the bleaching grounds. These comprise about 25 acres and are not a bit too large for present requirements. The fibre is spread out on the grass, and remains there from five to six weeks, before it is ready for the final process of scutching. Mr Shallard is in charge, of the bleaching ground, and has had long experience in this work. Extraordinary care must be taken in gathering the fibre in the best condition possible. If the fibre is too dry it becomes brittle, and on being scotched turns into tow. It has been found by experience that the best plan is to collect the fibre at night, but it must be quite dry, as after it is scutched it is placed in bales of 5½ cwts. or thereabouts, and is then ready for the market. 

R. Hornsby & Sons, Granthan, Lincolnshire, England 
Ian Urquhart of Timaru has recently purchased, May 2011, this 1870 Hornsby portable steam engine. The 8HP engine is steam powered by coal. He plans to leave it at the South Canterbury Traction engine club so that it can be used in displays.

Burrell 3051
NZ Stamps
Pleasant Point Fairlie Flyer
Pleasant Point Railway's RM4 on turntable
Ballasting track at Pleasant Point.
Steam train leaving Timaru
In March 2006 a Burrell Rally was held in Rangiora with over 60 traction engines. Of the 60 engines at the rally, 30 will be Burrell's.
Photo loading

SC Steam Show Timaru 2012 Threshing Marshall TH
Clarke & Kyle rally
Puffing away

Souvenir Programme 1958 V.W Wilson's Farm Airport Road Timaru. 21 Engines entered.
Sounds Historical. A traction engine rally at Levels Airport Timaru in 1958 and the memories of Frank Clarke, E Burt and Walter Morrison.

The first mention of traction engine being in the Waimate district is an allusion to a "road steamer" which was purchased by J Bruce for hauling timber from his sawmill in the bush. This traction engine arrived in Timaru in March 1871.

Star 6 January 1871, Page 4
A Thomson's road steamer was to be shipped in the Wild Duck for Timaru, and may be expected in about two months at this port. The Wild Duck has to discharge a portion of her cargo at Nelson before coming on to Timaru.

Marlborough Express, 6 June 1907, Page 5 THE "BURRELL" TRACTION ENGINE.
Messrs Reid and Gray, Blenheim, report the sale of one of " Burrells " latest steam traction engines to Mr Win. A. Litchfield, of Springlands, Blenheim. The engine, which is shortly to land, is to be an eight horsepower, double crank, compound spring-mounted general purpose engine ; will be fitted with three speeds, double-geared on the last motion; and will be capable of travelling at a speed of between 14 and 15 miles an hour on the fast speed. It will be fitted with ''Pickering's" high-speed governors, which control the perfect working of the engine as a stationary. Patent sight-feed lubricators will be fitted to the cylinder, and in addition to the ordinary injector a "More's " patent steam-feed pump. These engines have a large grate area, and are of the long boiler type, thus giving them increased heating surface, and making them very economical on fuel and water. One of these engines working in the Timaru district recently hauled a load of 84 bales of wool, which would not be less than 15 tons, a distance of 12 to 13 miles over rather a hilly road, and used less than two bags of coal for the trip. This is an accomplished fact, and is proof of their economy in running. Mr Litchfield is at present working a six horsepower " Burrell " engine, to which he has applied similar tests for over four years, and has proved the capabilities of these engines. Those contemplating the purchase of steam tractions will do well to make inquiries about the "Burrell" before placing orders elsewhere. Full particulars can be had on application to Reid and Gray, Grove Road. Win. G. Cresswell Branch Manager.

Timaru Herald, 28 October 1896, Page 2
The Temuka bridge will be open for traffic to-day, much to the convenience of travellers to the show. It was tested yesterday in the presence of Mr Marchant, and sustained the weight of two traction engines driven abreast at a slow speed, and stopped at each span. The engines were then driven across following each other at a pace of about 4 miles an hour. There was a very slight vibration. The test was considered very satisfactory.

Timaru Herald, 4 May 1899, Page 3
The monthly meeting of the Levels County Council was held yesterday. Present:—Messrs Orbell (chairman), Butler, Macintosh, McLaren, Mee and Pringle. Mr Quinn sent an apology. The overseer reported that McKnight, whose tender was accepted at last meeting for a year's supply of oats, when called upon to sign the agreement and pay the required deposit, refused to do so. He had therefore been getting oats to go on with elsewhere. Mr McLaren said the work should be pushed on, as traction engines were crossing the bridges every day. Mention was made of a traction engine crossing the Pareora getting into deep water, which put. the fire out, and another engine had to be got to drag it out.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project 

The Antiquities Act effectively prohibits the export of the traction engines, which are considered to be a part of New Zealand's heritage.

Location: Geraldine.

Traction engines have no brakes. To slow them down or stop them you have to put them into reverse.