Jamie Waugh had a block of land by Pemberton’s corner, at the junction of Rangiwahia and Mangamako Roads, just south of Rangiwahia. He apparently left the machine lying idle for several years on the side of Mangamako road, which leads to Ohingaiti.
The Wanganui Steam Traction Society began, because most of members were based in Wanganui. The founding members of the society included Mike Coghlan, Ron Boyce, Ron Alexander, John Pudsey, Mike Barnes and Ian Chamberlain, all of whom are alive today. Ron Alexander has recently published The Epic Journey, a most interesting story about the recovery and restoration of this particular traction engine. Eventually the Steam Traction Society moved from the Marton base to the site in Maewa Road in Feilding in 1973.
So the Traction Engine was off again. Before fording the river, it hit a rock and the steering chain broke. It was fixed the same day & they crossed the river. Before moving on they had to deal with some “red tape”. The boiler had to be inspected by the Marine Dept. for a certificate of worthiness to steam the boiler, and the driver had to have a certificate of operation competency. Fortunately John Pudsey had sufficient hours with steam to sit for his certificate. Then someone needed a road license to drive it on a road & finally they had to apply to the County Council for a permit to operate it on the road.
In 1976, the Ransomes sold to Chris Pask, the founder of CJ Pask Wineries, in Hawke’s Bay, who used the machine to remove old gum trees and later to sterilize wine barrels at his winery.
The present owner, Wayne Clark of Havelock North, bought the machine in 1996 and has continued with repairs and maintenance, bringing it back to it’s present excellent working order. Check Pg. 30. Under Wayne’s ownership it is the most traveled engine in the country.
They were fired by either wood or coal, which heated the water and so created the steam to drive the engines. When the machines were out on contract thrashing wheat etc the team of men were self-contained with living quarters including a cook, a “water joey” (a horse & wagon to carry the water to the engine) and all involved in the operation of the contract work. The living van or galley was commonly known as a “stinky” in the South Island, because the men had no access to daily showers! Oddly enough the occasional “stinky” was fitted out with pretty lead lights as shown in the photo.
The celebrations began on November 9th in Feilding with all the original members present. There are 68 current members and most were able to attend the celebrations. They were mainly from the Manawatu, but several made the trip from UK, 2 from the South Island; one who brought his engine up, and several from distant places in the North Island. They celebrated with a dinner in Feilding, catering for 138 in the traction engine shed down Maewa Road.
Afterwards two journeys were organized leaving from Feilding. Six engines went through to Apiti, where they spent the night. The convoy then moved onto Rangiwahia via Main South Road arriving at the Rangiwahia Hall on Tuesday afternoon. The other convoy of 3 machines drove to Tutanui and then onto Hunterville for the Monday night, making their way to Rangiwahia via Peep-O-Day Road. There were no speeding tickets issued as the average speed was from 7 - 20 kph.