North Otago Museum Blog

Featuring thoughts and ideas from the North Otago Museum.

  • Pioneer Gallery custodian Neville F Turner with school children and moa bones. Waitaki District Archive 4444

    This is the third blog in a series of four focussed on the history of the North Otago Museum.

  • Thomas Forrester with microscopes in his workshop, Wharfe Street, Oamaru

    This is the second blog in a series of four focussed on the history of the North Otago Museum.

  • New Zealand Exhibition Building, Dunedin 1865

    This is the first blog in a series of four focussed on the history of the North Otago Museum.

  • Washing Display

    Over the last few months we have been sorting out our washing collection. The collection gives a good overview of the technological development that occurred throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

  • VALE Washing Machine

    This very basic electric washing machine was donated to the North Otago Museum in 1994. The body is a tin case into which has been inserted a brass interior with a stainless steel rim.  At the bottom of the interior is a large element, next to which is a hole for the water to drain.

  • New Zealand Memorial at Chunuk Bair

    One hundred years ago New Zealand soldiers were involved in the Battle for Chunuk Bair. This battle is considered New Zealand’s most important action in the Gallipoli Campaign.

  • Mangle

    Mangles were used to wring water from wet laundry. This one, manufactured by GH & G Nicoll in Dundee, is one of several in the North Otago Museum’s collection. Using a mangle after washing clothes considerably sped up the drying process.

  • Washboard

    Washing boards were a very early way of washing clothes. This washing board was sold by AJ Headland in his shop on Thames St around 1890. The frame is wood, while the grooves used to agitate and remove dirt are metal.

  • Pegdolls

    Wooden pegs were adorned with pom-pom skirts and silver tiaras at the North Otago Museum: MUSEUM OF ORDINARY THINGS: Washing Day exhibition during the winter Holiday Programme.

  • Swiftsure Washer

    The Swiftsure vacuum washer was patented by a subsidiary of the British Vacuum Company, founded by Hubert Cecil Booth in 1901. The vacuum washer was actually a posser (sometimes known as a dolly), a stick-like implement used to mix the washing when it was in a tub.

  • Wooden Rocker Washing Machine

    This wooden rocker style washing machine consists of a cradle which slots into the circular base, standing on four legs. The interior is ribbed, and when water and washing has been put in, rocking the cradle backwards and forwards agitates the clothes, removing any dirt.

  • David Maxwell and Sons Washing Machine

    This wooden hand operated washing machine dates from around the early 1900s. It was manufactured by the Canadian firm David Maxwell and Sons, who not only produced household items such as washing machines and churns, but also agricultural and harvesting machinery.

  • Speedway Washing Machine

    This Speedway washing machine would have been sold in New Zealand around 1930. It is a single tub washer, although there was also a twin-tub Speedway, which was a pre-cursor to the Hoovermatic. Our Speedway is a non-electric agitator style of washer made of galvanised tin with a copper exterior.

  • Speed Queen Washer

    Speed Queen washing machines are made by the American company Barlow and Seelig Manufacturing.

  • Ordinary objects can sometimes turn out to be extraordinary. This can be because of the stories that accompany the object, or perhaps because of the object’s rarity or value. This is certainly the case for many of the North Otago Museum’s everyday objects!

  • Memorial Boards

    North Otago Museum holds around thirty memorial and honours boards. Honours boards have come from schools, clubs and societies, whilst the memorial boards pay tribute to soldiers killed.

  • Photos of Stanley Murcott and souvenir cloth World War One

    Many soldiers bought embroidered items like this cloth to send home to their mothers, sisters, wives or sweethearts.

  • Leslie Heron Beauchamp in World War One uniform

    Quanti est sapere or How valuable is wisdom is the motto of Waitaki Boys’ High School. The school was founded in 1883 and during the First World War period the school was headed by

  • Ardgowan Weston Red Cross Quilt World War One

    The Ardgowan-Weston Red Cross made this quilt during the First World War. It was probably made between 1915 and 1917.

  • Album page with picture of Bill Slater above and George Glen below

    The day I first saw this collection item I knew it was something special. I wasn’t expecting it. When I was opening a box looking for a different World War One related item, I found this instead.

Pages