Helensville Museum needs your help

Recently the Museum had the opportunity to purchase the 1929 McCormick Deering Bay City Shovel from the late Peter McKenzie’s collection. Peter McKenzie was an avid collector and before moving to Dargaville, owned Iron Park on State Highway 16. This was managed by generous donations and loans from the Davidson Family and Thomas Grace.
The Bay City Shovel was originally brought into the country in 1930 by WJ (Bill) Davidson during the depression. Even during it’s assembly it was under threat of sabotage from men who believed that it would take over their jobs. Work was hard to come by but it did some work on the Berlei factory and 1YA radio station. In 1931 it was disassembled sufficiently to travel by train to help out in the Napier area after their disastrous earthquake of 1931. In the clean up there, the work involved realigning rivers, drainage works and shovel work. After this it went to Galatea to do some river work and shingle recovery.
Back in Auckland, it worked on the Makarau Hill and approaches to the new bridge, various road works around Kaukapakapa including the realignment and approaches to the Dyes Bridge when the road was moved. It worked in the Defence working around South Head, the Albany Hill road, and in the Woodhill Forest building roads and the Headquarters.
The machine was crossing the railway line at Woodhill one day when, with the boom lowered, this collided with a train coming around the corner. This accident caused the train to derail and overturned the Bay City Shovel. The shovel was repaired and continued to work for the Forestry Service before being retired to the farm at Woodhill.
The museum has been lucky to be able to get this machine back to the place where it spent most of its life and need your help to fund both the cost of the purchase and a new shed to house this magnificent piece of history. The museum has set up a Give-A-Little page and invites you to donate through this page to help with this project. Any small amount will go a long way to getting the Bay City Shovel a new home here at Helensville Museum.

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