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Honouring the centenary of Richard Pearse's flight and Bill Clarke's South Canterbury traction engine venture
Dorothy - 14/02/03

The Richard Pearse Memorial in Waitohi featuring a replica of his aircraft
The Richard Pearse Memorial in Waitohi featuring a replica of his aircraft
(Click here for a larger version)
Close up of the replica aircraft
Close up of the replica aircraft
(Click here for a larger version)
A double centenary celebration
On 29-30 March at the Richard Pearse Airport the Richard Pearse Centennial Airshow will honour Pearse's flight at Waitohi and the South Canterbury Traction Engine Club will hold the W J Clarke Memorial Rally and attempt a world record by having up to thirteen threshing mills operating at one time.

Richard Pearse's flight
1903 marks the year when Richard Pearse, local inventor and aviator, flew his home built aeroplane at nearby Waitohi. Local historians believe he achieved powered flight four months before the famed flight at Kittyhawk by the Wright Brothers. The large airshow will commemorate the centenary of this event. On Monday 31 March a replica plane will attempt the flight at the same place as 100 years ago.

Traction engines and threshing mills
At the W J Clarke Memorial Rally the South Canterbury Traction Engine Club will put on a really impressive display as it attempts a world record by having up to thirteen threshing mills operating at the same time. They will be driven by Burrell traction engines.

The traction engine pulling a mill, the galley, and  the  'stinkie'
The traction engine pulling a mill, the galley, and the 'stinkie'
Photo source Don Clarke
2003 marks 100 years since local threshing and hauling contractor Bill Clarke started operations at Seadown near Timaru with one old Burrell engine and a Clayton Mill. His business expanded as the country was developed until in the late 1920's, at the height of operations he had thirteen mills out threshing, all driven by Burrell engines. When the engines weren't threshing they were out hauling grain or wool, or chaffcutting. Displays of both will be seen at the rally.

Men at work on the cut-down mill, Bill Clarke in the centre
Men at work on the cut-down mill, Bill Clarke in the centre
Photo source Don Clarke
Manufacturers of English threshing machinery considered W J Clarke to be one of the biggest threshing contractors in the world. The rally will be run as a tribute to his part in the development of South Canterbury.

Bill Clarke also built a specially designed threshing mill that was much lower and made it easier for forking up the sheaves.

For more about Bill Clarke and his engines read the articles in NZine.

Don't miss the double centennial event.

Steam engine and machinery
The engine and machinery at work at a rally at Winchester, South Canterbury
For further information contact
Brent Winter
Phone 03 614 3700
Fax 03 614 7762
Email woodynook@xtra.co.nz






 
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