The tram operates on weekends, usually Sunday (weather permitting), when volunteers are available, and at other times by arrangement.
Contact Jim White: (06) 363 7427 or Paul Mathews (Secretary): (06) 363 6980 alternatively email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arrange an outing for your club or group!
Tours available: River loop, Historical and/or Murals.
Driving heavy horses is an art held by an ever-diminishing number of people. Volunteers operate the tram and look after the horses. We are always on the lookout for drivers who can help us maintain this attraction. If you, or somebody you know, is able to drive our tram and is willing to help, please contact Jim White.
The production of phormium fibre on a large scale did not commence until the late 1860s, when a machine was invented to beat the green leaf between a revolving metal drum and a fixed metal bar. Metal beaters on the surface of the drum struck the leaf at great speed, stripping away the non-fibrous material and releasing the strands of fibre.
The flax stripper used in the museum is one that was operating at a firm called Bonded Felts, owned by Bill Hoskins. It was designed by Mr E Sutton in 1930 and was capable of stripping 16 tons of green leaf in a day.
The other piece of machinery owned by the museum is a "scrutcher" donated by a farmer near Blenheim. The flax stripper takes the fibre of the green leaf, requiring 750 gallons of water per minute to be washed over the fibre during the stripping process. After stripping it is put out in the sun to dry and bleach. The scutcher takes out all the short fibres and polishes up the flax for a smooth finish.
Foxton was home to a number of Flax Mills situated on the Manawatu Riverbank (now, the Loop). A tour of the museum includes seeing the machinery in operation and includes explanations of the industry from tour guides. A photographic display shows the production of carpets and woolpacks from flax. This working machinery is still put to practical use with flax being stripped for people who want fibre for furniture-making, packing and Maori crafts.
The tram, horses and equipment were purchased in 1988 from Garry Coster in Dunedin. Garry had assembled these under the sponsorship of Speights Brewery. Built on a truck chassis this replica of an 1800's tram is both new and old. The exterior is constructed with fibreglass, while the interior contains the same timber work as used in original contructions. During its years in Foxton, the tram, horses, harnesses and necessary support items have gone through several changes with repainting and refurbishment as required.
Today you may see our transport truck towing the Tram to other venues. On board will probably be 3 horses, plus the necessary supporting harness etc. The horses used to pull the tram are Clydesdales named Holly, Katie and Cloud. When not in operation the tram can be seen through the internal windows of the Station Tea Rooms, 100 Main Street, where it is stored in a purpose built shed.
The tram operates on weekends, usually Sunday, weather permitting, when volunteers are available, and at other times by arrangement. Driving heavy horses is an art held by an ever-diminishing number of people. Volunteers operate the tram and look after the horses. We are always on the lookout for drivers who can help us maintain this attraction. If you, or somebody you know, is able to drive our tram and is willing to help, please contact Jim White.