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

Flooding

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

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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Exotic Visitor

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

Exotic Visitor

Original photo © Russell Museum Nahlin anchored off the wharf in 1932 During the summer season its common to have a cruise ship anchored in the Bay and occasionally a large private launch or yacht. This photo from 1932 shows Lady Yule’s steam yacht Nahlin anchored just off Russell wharf. This elegant vessel was commissioned by Lady Yule from GL Watson &Co, Glasgow and used by her for extended cruises including a circumnavigation. She was later made available for charters including summer 1936 when King Edward VIII took his lady friend...

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Colonial Gallery

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

Colonial Gallery

The Colonial Gallery Original photo © Russell Museum The charming Colonial Gallery is no more. It stood on the corner of Chapel and York Streets from 1967–76. Jim and Pauline Yearbury, both artists, ran the gallery and sold paintings, pottery, sculpture, handcrafts and antiques according to their card. The gallery’s phone number was 168. In earlier life the building was owned by Frank Clow, who sold to Mrs Edrie Boucher. In turn her daughter, Hope, and Frank Miller, her husband, took it over in 1945. They ran a popular tearooms, home...

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Take the Back Road

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

Take the Back Road

First Service Car to Russell 1930 Original photo © Russell Museum We say Russell has a village feel, and an island quality. Until the 1930s the main access to Russell was by sea. The coastal steamer, the Clansman, brought supplies and passengers twice a week. During the depression years work camps of unemployed people did much needed public works including the completion of a coastal road from Whakapara to Russell. The first car made the trip in May 1830, a vehicular ferry started between Paihia and Russell, and the Domain became a motor...

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A House with a Past

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

A House with a Past

Orongo Homestead before renovations in the 1980s It’s hard to recognise Orongo Homestead in this plain, unpainted two storey house, photographed in the 1960s. Today it is a luxury tourist destination set in landscaped gardens. The L shaped house with a shingle roof was built in 1870 for James White who had been appointed an American consular agent to look after the commercial interests of American whaling ships in the Bay. The house has had many owners and users over the next one hundred years – as a farmhouse, a home for the manager of the...

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The Russell Methodist Church

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Heritage | 0 comments

The Russell Methodist Church

It doesn’t have any bullet holes like its famous older cousin, but the Methodist Church never-the-less has a wonderful rich history.  Early Methodist history records the Wesleyan missionary Rev. Samuel Leigh visiting New Zealand in 1819. Seeing a need to establish a Methodist mission in the Bay of Islands he returned to England and pleaded with the Wesleyan Methodist authorities to send a missionary to New Zealand. Rev. Leigh was dispatched as that missionary and in 1822 he established a church in Paihia. Methodist services were soon being...

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Tourist Ware

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Taonga | 0 comments

Tourist Ware

Russell has been a tourist destination for more than a hundred years. The museum has a range of souvenir china including plates, cups, vases, milk jugs. This shaving mug which is of white china with gold trim has a black and white transfer showing Russell looking south from Maiki Hill. The Methodist Church built in 1913 has its belfry (which was removed in 1932 because it was too heavy). The wharf has two sheds which were replaced by one big one when the wharf was rebuilt in 1927. So we can probably date the china to the 1920s. On the base is...

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Shark!

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Taonga | 0 comments

Shark!

A Great White shark jaw hangs on the wall in the ship wing at the Russell Museum. It comes from a shark caught near the Whangamumu whaling station in the 1927-8 season. The fish was cruising just off shore hoping for some tasty titbits sluiced from the slipway. Some of the station hands pushed off to interview him and he was harpooned. He measured 20 feet 9 inches and weighed half a ton according to Captain Bert Cook, head of the Whangamumu whaling operation, who gifted the jaw to the museum. As well Cook descendants have gifted whalebones,...

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Ether Mask

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Taonga | 0 comments

Ether Mask

This Ether mask is made of brass with decorative engraving and a nose covering of soft padded leather. Inside the round mesh covered part is a piece of sponge that held the ether when it was dropped through the funnel above. The round hole by the butterfly nut was covered and uncovered by thumb or finger to regulate the inhaling of air. Chloroform was discovered in 1831 and first used in 1847. Queen Victoria was given it for the births of her younger children in the 1850s. This mask belonged to Samuel Hayward Ford, New Zealand ‘s first...

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