David makes old Goliath steam

Last updated 10:52 27/11/2013
David Walker
HELEN MURDOCH

STEAM POWER: Appleby’s David Walker with his 1901 Clayton Shuttleworth traction engine and 1862 chaff cutter at Nelson A&P Show.

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When David Walker first saw the 1901 traction engine at a Marlborough winery it was a hulk.

He described its condition as "rust value only" when he took delivery on April 16 this year.

However, the committed restorer had the rare 10 horsepower steam driven engine up and running, albeit minus its pin-striping, in time for the weekend's Nelson A&P Show.

"It hadn't been steamed up in 62 years," said Mr Walker of his latest prize. To get it operational he had to replace, rebuild or repair nearly every moving part.

The 15-tonne English-built steam engine was a slow but mobile power plant for the farmers, sawmillers and loggers of the day with massive belts driving secondary plants capable of doing the heavy labour of early New Zealand primary industry.

At the show it was powering an 1862 chaff cutter which was in action all weekend churning out hessian sacks of golden feed.

Mr Walker said Clayton-Shuttleworth were prodigious manufacturers, building more engines than all their competitors put together.

Despite the output few survived. Only five were now known to exist in New Zealand with Mr Walker's the only certified working model. He understood one was still being used in a a Nightcaps sawmill.

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- The Nelson Mail

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