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Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 2, Issue 1, 1987

Brayshaw Museum Park, Blenheim

Brayshaw Museum Park, Blenheim

Marlborough people have achieved a great deal by utilising the great enthusiasm of voluntary workers, something which could not possibly have been achieved by a local body organisation. The Marlborough Historical Society was formed in 1955, with the purpose of seeing that historical material was preserved, and members saw the need for a building for that purpose. Some of the enthusiasts were Innes Simonsen, who became secretary, and the historians Allen Hale and Frank Smith. An exhibition was held, but the exhibits had to be returned to the owners, as there was nowhere to house them.

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In 1959 Norman Brayshaw joined the Society and he used his terrific enthusiasm to get things moving. He literally drove up every road in Marlborough, photographing records and copying old photos. Then he started on old farm machinery, gaining the support of the Marlborough Vintage Farm Machinery Society and the help of the Young Farmers Club members. The first finance for the project was raised by these bodies staging a display at Woodbourne Farm, Fairhall. Norm towed wrecks from all parts of Marlborough behind his old car, to the site now known at Brayshaw Museum Park, land that was actually an old tip site. Brayshaw Park is certainly a fitting memorial to the man who had such a love of the past and vision for the future. A memorial plaque is being erected.

Norm Brayshaw set up the present Archives in Howick Road and plans are now under way to build a Museum and Archives building at the park. The Archives section will be the first to be completed, as the Howick road premises are running out of space. The total cost is estimated at $400,000, but the Society already has more than $100,000 available. The late Ralph Denton, who was a tireless worker at the park, willed money to go towards this and similar purposes.

Four different bodies are involved with the developments at Brayshaw Park:

  • Marlborough Vintage Farm Machinery Inc.
  • Marlborough Association Of Modellers
  • Marlborough Historical Society Inc.
  • Marlborough Vintage Car Club

As visitors enter the park, they pass through Beavertown, with the various old buildings, on past the Modellers' section and up the bank to the acres of farm machinery.

The Park is controlled by the Park Administrators, a body made up of three members from each organisation. They encourage people to do their own thing, provided that it fits in with an overall plan. Recently a fire brigade station was being built, with brigade members doing the work. There is no limit to what can be achieved, when local enthusiasm is encouraged.