Russell Heritage

Russell Museum enjoys telling some of the fascinating stories from the town’s history. Our local paper Russell Lights carries regular feature articles called Heritage Corner which feature these early gems about the town and our people.

A selection of them have been reproduced here. When you visit Russell, look out as you may well recognise some of the places and names from our past.

Heritage Corner articles:

Fire at the Duke of Marlborough

Whangamumu Windy Harbour
Russell Town Council
Winter Sports

Russell’s first Birdman

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

Russell’s first Birdman

First aerial mail run to Russell Original photo © Russell Museum The Russell birdman contest brought excitement and colour to our cold grey winter days  In 1920 another birdman brought intense excitement and wonder to Russell. Pilot George Bolt brought a seaplane to the Far North carrying not only the local Member of Parliament but also the first aerial mail. The plane left Auckland at 8.30 am on Friday 9 April 1920 planning to drop mail at various places. It reached   Russell at 11.30am. The travelling speed was 60-70 miles an hour, and...

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Cosmopolitan Russell

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

Cosmopolitan Russell

Russell School Pupils c1890s Original photo © Russell Museum It’s the start of a new school year. This photo shows 58 Russell School pupils gathered outside their new one roomed school built in 1892. Names include Stephenson, Baker, Williams, Woods, Flowerday, Deery, Saunders, Poole and Webb. Some of their descendants are still in town today. The headmaster Mr Higginson (1892-6) is on the right. On the left is his assistant teacher Miss Honor Matthews. Honor met an American whaling captain, James Earle of the Charles W Morgan, at...

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Re-enactment

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Re-enactment

Re-enactment of Hobson landing at Kororareka Original photo © Russell Museum Captain William Hobson anchored off Kororareka (Russell) midday on 29 January 1840. He issued an invitation to citizens of the Bay to meet him at Kororareka church in the afternoon of the following day. Going ashore on 30 January he was met by the British resident James Busby and the local missionaries, plus about 300 Pakeha and 100 Maori. Hobson read his proclamations which extended the boundaries of New South Wales to include New Zealand and his commission as...

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Politics

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

Politics

Visit of William Massey Original photo © Russell Museum This photo shows a politician’s visit in 1922. The Russell wharf is decorated with flags and a welcoming fern arch. The local men dressed in their best suits and hats and a few small boys form a guard of honour. There is no sign of any women or girls. Perhaps they were preparing the banquet for their illustrious guest Premier William Ferguson Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912 to 1925. Mr Massey had been North before in 1914 when he opened the Kaikohe railhead. With...

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Russell Police Station

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

Russell Police Station

Custom House / Police Station Original photo © Russell Museum A group of well dressed Russell ladies c1900 enjoying a game of croquet beside the Russell Police Station. Croquet was played at private homes until a croquet club was established after World War I on part of the Kororareka Reserve. The Russell Playcentre stands on the site today. The Police Station started as the Customs House built in 1870 from a Gothic design by W.H. Clayton, the Colonial Architect for New Zealand. It is one of his first designs providing both accommodation and...

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Still Watching the Years Go By

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Still Watching the Years Go By

Norfolk pine at Te Wahapu Original photo © Russell Museum A  Norfolk pine stands sentinel on a knoll at the end of the Te Wahapu peninsula, in a prominent position within one of our recreational reserves. A sign below the tree was erected to mark the reserve in July 1988 by the Historic Places Trust. The wording on the sign is: In this bay, Te Wahapu, a trading post and ship repair yard were established by Gilbert Mair in 1831, and run by him with William Powditch as a partner in the early years. Mair’s house stood on the point, beside the...

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Hangi

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

Hangi

Christ Church Centennial 1936 Original photo © Russell Museum The traditional Tall Ships hangi at the Russell Boat Club attracts hundreds each January. This photo shows steam rising from a hangi being opened on 29 March 1936. It was Christ Church’s one-hundredth birthday and all the pews were taken out of the church and the main service (there were three others, one in Maori) held outside at the back of the church to accommodate all the visitors and dignitaries. Afterwards across the road on the empty section where the museum now stands...

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Hananui Hotel

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Hananui Hotel

Pacific Hotel / Hananui Original photo © Russell Museum This photo shows the Pacific Hotel, later known as Hananui Boarding House, in its prime. It was built in the 1870s and demolished in 1961 to make way for the Hananui Motel, the first motel for Russell. The land it stood on was part of a larger area granted to Tamati Waka Nene in 1866. He gave a section of it to the widowed Matilda Cook whose husband, George, was a relative. Matilda had kept a motherly eye on Nene in his cottage nearby. She built a hotel to provide a living for herself...

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Flooding

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Flooding

Flooding in Russell Original photo © Russell Museum The winter season is upon us, a time of wind, rain and sometimes flooding. This photo is taken at 8.45am on 6 June 1925, from the hillside above Pitt Street and looking north to Maiki Hill. To the left is York Street with the Town Hall and Hananui’s fence. Far right is a house in Chapel Street now with a wisteria vine on its picket fence. The land between York and Church Streets is obviously low lying and swampy – prone to flooding. There are stories of being able to use a dinghy to...

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Fire

Posted by on May 10, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

Fire

Gables & Duke of Marlborough Fire Original photo © Russell Museum When the fire siren sounds, other than Monday night, we all worry. Did we really turn off the stove… Our reliance on rainwater tanks and bores makes us feel vulnerable, especially in summer. This photo shows the third Duke of Marlborough hotel burning fiercely and people carrying buckets of water up from the water’s edge in a vain attempt to dampen the fire, and protect neighbouring buildings. At high tide mark furniture and goods are dropped higgledy-piggledy. There...

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