Birthday party for ‘Josephine’ at Toitu

Trying out the train tracks laid in the foyer at Toitu in honour of its double-ended Fairlie...
Trying out the train tracks laid in the foyer at Toitu in honour of its double-ended Fairlie steam locomotive, Korben Taylor (3), of Dunedin, takes part in the celebrations at Josephine's 148th birthday bash yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
A crowd of about 40 children sang happy birthday to the 148-year-old locomotive parked in the foyer at Toitu yesterday.

Toitu visitor programme co-ordinator Phoebe Thompson said the "proper birthday party" the museum put on for Josephine, ordered for use on the freshly built Dunedin and Port Chalmers railway in 1872, was a Dunedin tradition that captured the city’s appreciation for history and trains.

"It’s mostly for kids, but there’s a lot of train enthusiasts in Dunedin too," Miss Thompson said.

This year, Miss Thompson brought in Kaitrin McMullan, whose storytelling and activities proved "super cute and really interactive".

Ms McMullan told the story of how Josephine, which arrived in Dunedin with her "sister" Rose as a complicated "Lego set", was well used at the end of the 19th century.

Rose crashed, but Josephine carried on until she was "sold for a song" in 1917.

She escaped the scrapheap and was subsequently displayed at Dunedin’s New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition in 1925.

For more than three decades, Josephine was kept outside the museum, exposed to the elements.

But after a campaign to save her in the 1960s, she was restored and later installed in a purpose-built annex to the museum, Ms McMullan said.

Face painting, a chocolate birthday cake and Victorian crafts completed the morning at the museum, Miss Thompson said.

She was happy with the turnout in the busy foyer yesterday, pleased so many had come to celebrate "on a wet, miserable day that it is".

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment

 

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter