Celebration of region’s farming history on show

At the opening of the new exhibit on Southland’s farming history at the Thornbury Vintage Tractor...
At the opening of the new exhibit on Southland’s farming history at the Thornbury Vintage Tractor and Implement Club on Saturday are (from left) Tony Strang, Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds, Southland District Mayor Rob Scott, Fraser Pearce, Colin Hitchcock and Jacque Byars. PHOTO: IAN SMITH
One hundred and thirty guests were on hand to watch Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds and Southland District Mayor Rob Scott cut the ribbon to open the Thornbury Vintage Tractor & Implement Club’s new exhibition of Southland’s Farming History on Saturday.

In keeping with the occasion, Ms Simmonds arrived in a Rolls-Royce and Mr Scott in a Land Rover Discovery, led by two members of the Waimatuku Pipe Band.

The pair spoke before cutting the ribbon; Ms Simmonds talked about the important role the display played in preserving Southland’s rural history, and congratulated all on their efforts.

"It is a wonderful chronicle of our past rural industries and support services."

Mr Scott talked of Southland’s rich history and how it was so important to the region’s sense of identity.

Thornbury Vintage Tractor and Implement Club president Colin Hitchcock also spoke, along with one of the project’s main drivers Tony Strang, and Fraser Pearce.

A final panel for the exhibit was also unveiled, acknowledging Mr Strang and the team who created the display.

After the exhibition was declared open, groups were taken on a tour through the display by members of the club while there was a rolling afternoon tea and the Deep South Rhythm Band added to the carnival atmosphere of the event.

Following the celebrations, Sunday was locals’ day with a constant stream of visitors — 180 people — coming through the doors.

Southlanders will have an opportunity to view the new exhibit and the other facets of the museum during Heritage Month in March when the facility will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. Admission will be $10 per adult while under 16s are free.

The facility will then be open on Sundays and public holidays from 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

The centre is signposted on State Highway 99.

 - By Lindsay Beer