COTMA Conference 2010 and Tours - Report and Photos.
Just on a 100 people from the various Australasian Museums took part in the COTMA Conference held in Wellington during mid-September. The Conference was hosted by the Wellington Tramway Museum. Just over 20 participants commenced with a preconference tour in Christchurch, a week after the major earthquake. The city tramway itself suffered only a broken rail, but a lot of damage around the city was also apparent. Both the Tramway Historical Society and Christchurch Tramway were great hosts as always visiting both depots and riding the trams. Work on the reconstruction of the Invercargill Birney tram and the extensions to the city tramway were inspected.
Original planning was to travel by train to Picton and then ferry to Wellington, but a major landslip closed both the road and rail line for a week. A replacement coach was organised. On our way we visited the 600mm gauge Riverside Railway at Blenheim. Well worth visiting.
The Conference commenced on Thursday evening 16 September in Wellington itself with a welcoming function. The following two days saw the formal opening by the Mayor of Wellington, a number of papers presented, Brag sessions and the Conference General Dinner comprising the now traditional general and tramway knowledge quiz, a Memoriam session remembering those workers who have passed on since the last COTMA Conference.
One part of the Conference Dinner is the presentation of the EAR (Excellence and Recognition) Awards marking achievements since the last Conference. For details along with photographs of the Award winners, see the Awards section.
The following day we visited the Wellington Tramway Museum’s tramway, known as the Kapiti Coast Electric Tramway at Paekakariki where a three tram service was operating. The weather was great and as always, the Museum were great hosts. Afterwards we visited the Southwards Motor Car Museum which is nearby and listened to their Wurlitzer Organ.
Monday was the final conference day, where papers and presentations were completed and in the afternoon, we visited the National Museum Te Papa. Tuesday was taken up with a Trolley Bus tour using two of Wellington new trolley buses around the city. The tour included a visit to the Omnibus Society Depot and the Wellington Cable Car Museum.
Good byes were then said for those returning to their homes or partaking in the Post Conference Tour Wednesday saw about 35 of the COTMA Conference attendees joined Richard Gilbert’s tour to Auckland via Wanganui and New Plymouth. During the Wednesday and Thursday, we again visited the tramway museum at Paekakariki, the Foxton Trolley bus Museum, the Wanganui Tramway Museum, the Durie Hill Lift, the Ward Observatory in Wanganui and a trip along the Whanganui River with the paddle steamer Waimarie of 1900 vintage. We stayed for two nights at the Grand Hotel Wanganui a grand city which once boasted its own tramway system.
Friday 24 Sept it was onwards to New Plymouth, another small NZ tramway city, via the Tawhiti Museum and Taranaki Pioneer Village which boasts a small 600mm gauge railway. From New Plymouth it was onwards the 3’6” gauge rail line at Waitara, which boasts a great view of the snow-capped volcano, Mt Taranaki when the almost perpetual cloud lifts. From there to the White Cliffs Organic Brewery and finally to Auckland. The following day was a visit to the Western Springs Tramway for the launch of Wellington Double Decker, No. 47.
Text and Photos: Warren Doubleday
On Board the Waimarie.
Inspecting Wanganui No. 12
Waiting for the tram at MOTAT -Auckland
Dave Harre presents to Henry Brittain of the Wellington Tramway Museum a former Wellington depot clock while we enjoy lunch
Inspecting the Truck for the Invercargill Birney.
At the Blenheim Station of the Riverside Railway.
On the Trolley Bus tour in Wellington.
At the Wellington Tramway Museum
Visiting the Foxton Trolley Bus Museum
At the Taranaki Pioneer Village
On Board the Waitara Railway