Feature - Ashburton Fire Museum - April 2019

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ADVERTISING FEATURE Ashburton Guardian Wednesday, April 17, 2019




Ashburton Guardian


Museum’s collection without equal anywhere in New Zealand Far left – Ashburton Fire chief Alan Burgess speaking at the opening of the 130419-HM-0337 fire museum extension. Left – Pegging out the boundary for the Ashburton Fire Museum extension, project chairman Dave Eddington.



Ashburton’s fire museum and it’s impressive new extension house a collection of equipment, engines and memorabilia that is without equal anywhere in New Zealand. In part that collection owes its success to the forethought of earlier firefighters who saw the value in keeping retired equipment, but it also owes a huge debt of gratitude to a small group of people who not only dreamed of creating a fire museum that would be New Zealand’s best, but who also made this happen. Last weekend the final act was played out in the Ashburton Fire Museum’s history with the opening of a museum extension that has absorbed the time and energy of countless volunteers for more than four years. The museum itself dates back to the late 1970s when it became part of the Plains Village as a small home for fire equipment of the past. In the years since, the collection of fire memorabilia has doubled many times over and with that doubling came the dream of a space that would do justice to the district’s fire past.

In 2015 a point had been reached where the museum’s band of loyal supporters knew something had to be done. The equipment and items they cared for were of huge historic value and they deserved to be well displayed and available for the community to view. Creating the space they needed would take money, and lots of it, but the commitment to preserving the past was made and the fire museum team were prepared to go to great lengths to make it happen. In 2015 plans were made to redevelop the small museum in the Plains Village into a large complex that could house and display the district’s fire heritage collection. This would reinforce the quality and status of what was becoming a nationally-significant and steadily growing collection, that was unique in that virtually every item had been part of the district’s fire-fighting armoury. Their plans were large and they were bold. The fire station would get a 430sqm extension, the current space would be upgraded and the collection would be reinterpreted

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in new displays incorporating audio-visual story-telling technology. Included would be space for the collection of Ashburton brigade material to incorporate new additions, fire engines housed in sheds around the district. The new facility was also to become

an educational tool that schools and community groups could access. Ashburton’s team of firefighters knew the project was beyond them because of the massive time commitment required, so they shoulder-tapped to create a small group of people to form the redevelopment

management team. David Eddington, chairman, Craig Wakelin, secretary and Peter and Larraine McQuarters, Jim Reed and patron Alan McQuarters became the small group that would drive the project from dream to reality. They were joined by a group of

volunteers dubbed Grey Watch. This group added Denise and the late Bill Clark, Graeme Baker, Bill Hart, Bruce Hill, Ian Moore, Ken Peck, Carl Petersen, Frank Sandys and Dennis Dixon to the team. continued over page

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ASHBURTON FIRE MUSEUM ADVERTISING FEATURE Ashburton Guardian Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Ashburton Guardian 13

Opening the end of a four-year battle

From P11 Plans were drawn, budgets set and negotiations with the Plains Museum Trust and the Tinwald Reserve Board were had. The goal was to raise $300,000 to ensure the extension could be built by professionals while the expert-directed fit-out would be completed by volunteers. Community funders would be approached alongside community fundraising. The plans were well laid, well thought through. The collection would be an asset vested in the Ashburton Volunteer Fire Brigade, a registered charity. This meant it would ultimately be owned by the people of Ashburton. The project was launched in August 2015 and almost immediately the funds started to flow from the community. Grants and donations large and small were made and each moved the management team one step closer to achieving the $229,000 in committed cash needed to ensure building could start. The rest of the money needed was earmarked for the building’s fit out. Within a year around $140,000 had been raised and as the calendar flicked over into 2017 the fundraising tally grew, hitting $235,000 by mid year. The fundraising team battled on and by the end of 2017 they had sufficient money in the bank to start work. A building consent had been secured for a 250 square metre extension to the original building that would bring display space up to 500 square metres in total. The committee had raised $250,000 out of the $300,000 needed to complete the project, and there was sufficient cash in the bank to ensure completion of the new build and its connection to the existing museum. On Saturday their efforts were rewarded when the museum and its extension were officially opened. It now houses what is believed to be the most complete collection of any individual volunteer fire brigade in the country and begins with the very first shoulder

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


yoke and canvas buckets that started the brigade back in 1874. It tells the story of the evolution of fire-fighting in the Ashburton District over almost 150 years. The star of that collection is the 1889 Shand Mason steam horse-drawn appliance. It is in full operating order, one of just a few worldwide.

Many items in the collection are extremely rare and while building work was under way many pieces were moved off-site into secure storage. There is still money to be raised and the redevelopment team is still in business, but for now they’re sitting back and enjoying a facility community generosity has funded.

Ready to turn the first sod on the site that would become the extension to Ashburton’s Fire Museum (from left) chairman of the project’s management team, Dave Eddington, patron Alan McQuarters and Ashburton Fire Chief Alan Burgess.

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There were smiles all round and for many, a huge sense of relief when the ribbon was cut to signal the opening of the Ashburton Fire Museum’s extension. That simple snip of the scissors represented the thousands of hours of work by volunteers and a huge investment of money by individuals, organisations and businesses and it rewarded a small group of people for their commitment to seeing the museum extension planned, built and opened. In true ceremonial style, as the clock ticked over to 11am, the fire bell tolled and the fire flag was hoisted aloft, those four years of work and planning were neatly wrapped up. Master of ceremonies for the April 13 event, Peter McQuarters paid tribute to all who had been involved in the project and said that Ashburton now had the best collection of single brigade fire units and equipment in New Zealand that were on public display. The project was unique, McQuarters said in that it was completed within budget, and for a price that in many areas would only have covered the planning stages. “We’re very hands-on and a lot of people have dived into their pockets along the way,” he said. The core group involved with the project from day one, Dave Eddington, Craig Wakelin, Jim Read and Larraine and Peter McQuarters were acknowledged for their tenacity and determination in battling against the odds to raise the cash needed and to drive the construction of the extension, by Ashburton fire chief Alan Burgess. “We knew we needed a dedicated group to drive this along and it’s a magnificent job they’ve done. This is the brigade’s heritage and we’re extremely proud of this museum,” he said. That such a comprehensive collection of old fire equipment was still in the district was a credit to firefighters of the past who saw value in ensuring that equipment was kept and cared for, Burgess said. Chairman of the museum team, dubbed Grey Watch, Dave Eddington applauded both the volunteers and the many sponsors who had provided the $250,000 plus needed to take the museum extension to where it is today. “I was asked to lead this group and it took only a very short moment of contemplation to say yes,” he said.


Above – Wilma Wolfrey and Alan McQuarters declaring the Ashburton Fire Museum extension officially open.

Below – The display of historic fire equipment and vehicles in the Ashburton Fire Museum stands alone in New Zealand as the best single brigade collection. 13040-19-HM- 0299

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Big thank you to all our wonderful sponsors 4 Square Methven, Rakaia, Allenton, Netherby Aeroview Function Centre Alan McQuarters QSM Alistair Thomson Alpine Buildings Timaru Anderson Joinery Ltd Annie’s Country Quilt Store Ashburton Americar Rod & Custom Club Ashburton Crane Hire Ashburton District Council Ashburton Guardian Ashburton ITM Ashburton Club & MSA Ashburton Plains Rotary Ashburton Powdercoating & Sandblasting Ashburton Trust Event Centre Ashburton Trust Lion Foundation Baker Family Bill and Yvonne Hart Brendan and Michelle Price Brian Glassey Bridgestone Tyres Broadcast Media Ltd Bryan and Jeanette Murphy Bus, Truck and Bodyworks Ltd BW Lighting Cairns Groundspreading Camtec CCTV Solutions Canterbury Long Run Iron Canterbury Vehicle Compliance Ltd Chilton and Mayne Architecture Community Trust Mid/South Canterbury Cranfield Glass Ltd

Cullimore Engineering

Moore Family Trust

Clyde Cook

Neumanns Tyres

Dennis Dixon

Newlands Auto Electrical

DH Bird

NZ Sock Company

Donna and Callan Simpson

Owen and Lorraine Wilson

EA Networks

Panelcraft Auto Restoration

East Coast Transport

Pendarves Rural Fire

FENZ (Fire Emergency NZ)

Phillip Kenny Family

Fire Service Historical Society

Placemakers Ashburton

Fire Solutions Timaru

Plains Railway Preservation Society

Frank Sandys


Gary Hogg

Richard and Elizabeth Ashford

Harvey Signs

Rooney Earthmoving

Heartland Design

Rotary Club of Ashburton

Helmack Engineering

Rural Transport

Iconic Car Care

Seed and Field Services South Island Ltd

Jim Reed Builder

Silk Estate

Jo Goodhew


John Hannan

Specialised Electrical Services

Juice Signs and Display

Spraymarks Ashburton

Keith Pickford and Linda Blackmore

Steve Paston

Ken and Linda Baker

Steve Smith

Kennard Hire

Stuart Tarbotton Contracting Ltd

Kevin Collins


Laser Electrical

The Ashburton Courier

Late Bill Clark Family

The Finishing Company

Lions Club of Ashburton Pakeke

Tim Westwood

Marie Allan

Tom Churchill

Masterguard Cameras

Twentyfour Catering

Masterguard Security

Val and George Henderson

Matt Walker

Wilson Bulk Transport

Maurice and Jean Baker

Wilson Windscreens 2018 Ltd

Mid Canterbury Hokonui

Wolfreys Family

Midlands Group

Wrights Dry Cleaners

Plus numerous anonymous sponsors