Neville Colley's kitchen has become a workshop for the
construction of a model Dragline crane - built largely by
feel due to his poor eyesight - that dominates the room.
Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Neville Colley has a very small kitchen with a very large
crane in it.
In fact, it is a roughly th scale model of a dragline crane,
plonked in the middle of his kitchen and stretching from
floor to ceiling.
His work is a feat of model-building made more remarkable by
the fact Mr Colley is almost blind, and works largely by
He told the Otago Daily Times he began building the
crane this year, when his deteriorating sight made smaller
models ''too awkward'' to work on.
''This is something I can do.''
He has spent a lifetime working on mechanical gadgets,
vintage machinery, models and motors, and was a founding
member of the Otago Vintage Machinery Club and editor of its
His previous projects included a model tractor and a long
list of mechanical gadgets, but nothing
quite so big, he said.
''This is by far the biggest thing I have ever made.''
The project began about eight months ago on his kitchen
table, but as the size of the crane expanded, so did his work
''It started on the kitchen table and finished up on the
kitchen floor,'' he said.
The ODT visited yesterday and found the crane dominating Mr
Colley's small kitchen, stretching from one side of the room
to the other and from floor to ceiling.
Perhaps luckily for the project, Mr Colley said he did not
have a wife and was at home every day, meaning the crane's
construction had become ''a full-time job''. Mr Colley said
he was partially sighted, having lost all his sight in one
eye and some in his other.
He had no design drawings or plans to help build the model
crane, instead working by studying photographs and by feel,
and relied on donated aluminium after a few false starts
He planned to display the results of his labour at next
month's Otago Taieri A&P show.
''To me, this is an achievement because everything was
actually done by feel and what remaining sight I have, and
damn good guesswork.''