In 1991, a group recognised the value of many of our region's elderly agricultural machines and implements. These had helped build and shape our community, but with the relentless passing of time and march of progress, these work-day treasures were in danger of being lost and forgotten, and so The Tuapeka Vintage Club was formed.
Its aims were to preserve and restore as much of the Tuapeka's mechanical heritage as possible and to foster public interest and knowledge in this heritage.
To this end, the club has at its premises a comprehensive and well-displayed collection of tractors, machines,and small combustion engines, many of them fully restored to working order. There is an ever-growing display of smaller implements, plus an extensive collection of radios and some telephones which belong to one of our members. Many of the members own antique vehicles and vintage motor cars, some of which are housed in the display sheds. Of particular interest is a hundred-year old "AC Sociable" and a recently restored horse-drawn gig. All items have been carefully catalogued by our club member archivist.
Surrounding the club's buildings is an ever-growing number of restoration projects. In the forecourt, a nineteenth century shepherd's accommodation wagon awaits restoration. Next door to the club rooms, an interesting lane of nineteenth century buildings is being established. There is a fully restored and furnished railway cottage and a similarly restored stables and loft. Soon work will start on restoring a particularly charming tiny school. Across the road from the clubs premises, is a restored stamper battery. It is fitting that it stands sentinel at the entrance to historic Gabriel's Gully. One hundred years ago, the Gully echoed with the powerful thudding of these mighty, gold-getting machines.
In March of 2014, the Vintage Club decided to hold the first Lawrence Heritage Day. There were working demonstrations throughout the day. A hundred-year old combustion engine ground wheat into flour which was then made into delicious griddle scones served at morning and afternoon tea. Sheep were being shorn during several displays using an early shearing plant. The wool was then spun and knitted on site by members from the Waitahuna Craft Group who joined us for the day, dressed in nineteenth century costume.
The Club premises comes alive every Sunday from 1pm to 4pm when members get together to work on restoration projects and greet any visitors. Tour groups and school parties can be shown around by appointment, entry is by donation. We welcome new members, the subscription fee is $30.00.
The Club is also a fantastic function space - it can be adapted to suit your requirements from small wedding ceremonies to large functions. Contact one of our Club members to talk about your requirements.
Office Holders: President: Rodger Anderson - 4859 652, Secretary: Bruce Young - 4859 548. Photographs courtesy of Lou Farrand and Brian Taylor.