Hamilton history marked in model
First city bridge comes to life in lovingly crafted matchstick formSHAYNE ELDRIDGE
An active interest in Hamilton's history has led Doug Dixon to build a four-metre-long model of the city's first bridge, the Union Bridge.
This was the second time Mr Dixon made a model of the bridge; he made a smaller model out of matchstick-like bits of wood, which now has a home at the Hamilton Central Library.+
The latest model is 3.7 metres long and is made out of little pieces of timber that Mr Dixon cut and crafted to shape.
"It's one of the best things I've done in my life," he said, looking at his latest model.
He estimated he has spent about 600 hours since Christmas on the replica but said he stopped counting after the first 100.
He still has to finish the decking on the top of the bridge.
"I'm surprised something like this hasn't been done before.
"It should've been done 50 years ago."
When Mr Dixon tried to find the original plan for the bridge to make his first model, he found there wasn't any so made the models by looking at old pictures and making stencils of the bridge parts.
"It's our local history; the beginning of our city."
"It's no good me doing something from Auckland or Wellington."
By researching for his models (Mr Dixon has also made models of the Waikato riverboat Manuwai and the Rangiriri), his interest in the local history has increased.
And Mr Dixon's great-grandfather arrived in Hamilton on the Rangiriri, the historic land wars vessel that brought the first settlers to the future site of Hamilton.
He hopes that the model can find a prominent home, such as a museum, where future generations of Hamiltonians will be able to appreciate its history.
THE UNION BRIDGE
Hamilton's first bridge connected Hamilton West and Hamilton East to become a single borough
Built in 1879, replaced in 1910 by today's Victoria Bridge Constructed mainly of kauri Cost £18,000 to build
Originally a toll bridge, costing 15c for a horse and cart, and 1c for pedestrians
The tolling booth on the eastern side of the river was Hamilton's first library
- © Fairfax NZ News
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