WW2 radio operator display new club feature for heritage day

A surprise  is in store for visitors to the Tuapeka Vintage Club Museum during Lawrence Heritage Day this Sunday.

Club members have teamed up to provide an impressive new display that will be just one of several new and returning attractions expected to delight the crowds.

Club member Jerry Packwood said he wondered if a burglary was afoot when he first stumbled across the installation last week.

‘‘I came round the corner into the radio section, and there was this chap sitting at a desk in a World War 2 uniform.

‘‘He was so realistic, I struck up a conversation with him to begin with.’’

The intruder in question turned out to be a carefully-crafted army radio operator dummy, forming part of a display illustrating a typical WW2 signals set-up.

 A new World War 2 radio operator display graces the Tuapeka Vintage Club Museum, in time for...
A new World War 2 radio operator display graces the Tuapeka Vintage Club Museum, in time for this year’s Lawrence Heritage Day on Sunday. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
Club member Stevie Robertson obtained the ZC1-MkII field radio, which once belonging to a sea cadets unit, on loan from the collection of the Dwyer family, of Dunedin.

It is the latest addition complementing his collection of several dozen radios, which form a backdrop to the new display.

Wanting to show the new unit off to best advantage, Mr Robertson teamed up with dummy maker and artist Graeme Furness, and several other club members donated elements of army uniform.

Mr Packwood said the new display would add to several of the traditional Heritage Day elements popular with visitors, including scone making from grain to griddle, sheep shearing and, new this year, horse shoeing.

Elsewhere in town, other heritage organisations will also be throwing open their doors, between 10am and 4pm.

Several of Lawrence’s historic Colonsay St buildings will be accessible, alongside six historic homes.

The Lawrence Chinese Camp is open to visitors, who can also see Lawrence Lantern Festival’s Jimmy the dragon walk from the Prospector Cafe to the camp at 1.15pm.

Bellview Wetlands at the entrance to Gabriels Gully has model boats on its pond, and eel feeding.

The Southland-Otago Axeman Association will conduct a wood-chopping and sawing demonstration and, at the Lawrence Cemetery, history talks on some of Lawrence’s notable residents will take place.

All attractions would be clearly signposted from the centre of Lawrence, Mr
Packwood said.



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