| January/February 1985

  • Frank Heron with the Marshall 2

  • Four Herons(left to right) Garry, Frank, Joy and Kerry'
    Four Herons(left to right) Garry, Frank, Joy and Kerry

  • Frank Heron with the Marshall 2
  • Four Herons(left to right) Garry, Frank, Joy and Kerry'

(When Margaret and I visited New Zealand early in 1984, we were able to meet the Heron family Frank, Joyce and two sons, Kerry and Garry. One of the family's proudest accomplishments is the rescue of a huge traction engine from the Docherty Creek in 1975. Michael Hanrahan, editor of 'Vintage Farming' magazine, who sewed as our guide in New Zealand, has very kindly enabled us to quote from an article in the magazine in 1978, written by Joyce Heron. Gerry Lestz.)

Frank Heron, chatting with Bill Scott, of Rangiora, after a traction engine rally, said he would like to own a traction engine, since he had repaired many of them. Bill said he knew where one was buried in a river at Franz Josef. Permission was obtained from Ted Gibb, who owned it, for a visit of inspection. Joyce's account continues:

Frank Heron with the Marshall 2 speed #38513, single cylinder, rescued from its water resting place. Frank's large collection includes a Keystone drilling rig; he has located two more in Christchurch, both operational.

The engine was located completely covered in shingle, boulders, and sand and with branches caught on the top. There was also water in Docherty Creek almost to the top of the engine.

By lowering the level of water with Bob Gibb's D8 bulldozer we were able to establish that it was a 7 HP Marshall traction engine number 38513 built by Marshall Sons & Co., Ltd., in Gainsborough, England, in 1902 and that the boiler was in excellent condition, even though a lot of the top gear had been removed.

A further trip in May, 1975, followed and with the aid of George Wheeler's (Kaiapoi) Fordson tractor and Dinkum Digger, and Bob Gibb's (Franz Josef) bulldozer and plenty of hand work by my family and Harold Feather, we were able to dig out the traction engine in under two days. It was very helpful to find that Docherty Creek was dry.


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