Magic of old ma­chin­ery put on dis­play

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By ROSE CAW­LEY

Mur­ray Lane’s favourite place in the world is his work­shop.

The ma­chin­ery has been mod­i­fied to his in­di­vid­ual taste, ev­ery­thing he needs to tin­ker away is at arm’s reach and his ac­co­lades for model en­gi­neer­ing hang from the walls.

The 74-year-old has been mak­ing mod­els for more than 65 years.

‘‘The model I first started with is now 98 years old, that still works and and I still use it. My dad bought it for me,’’ he says.

He be­longs to the Auck­land So­ci­ety of Model En­gi­neers and is putting some of his work on dis­play as part of the group’s ex­hi­bi­tion at How­ick His­tor­i­cal Vil­lage on Oc­to­ber 20.

He says there will be clocks, sta­tion­ary en­gines, trac­tion en­gines, lo­co­mo­tives, work­shop equip­ment and in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines on dis­play.

Mr Lane’s in­ter­est

in model en­gi­neer­ing re­ally started to gather speed in 1965 when he was able to set up his own work­shop.

‘‘I like do­ing me­chan­i­cal things, so I had to have my own work­shop. I like do­ing any­thing which is old and me­chan­i­cal,’’ he says.

‘‘I’ve got sev­eral com­pli­cated mod­els. I sup­pose my Heisler 4 cylin­der geared lo­co­mo­tive which I worked on for 19 years would be one of my more in­tri­cate ones.’’

The re­tired man worked at Mo­tat for 16 years help­ing re­store a Vick­ers Vilde­beest and vol­un­teers at the How­ick His­tor­i­cal Vil­lage as a black­smith.

‘‘Since I re­tired nine years ago I have hardly got any mod­el­ling done, I’ve been vir­tu­ally full­time be­tween Mo­tat and the vil­lage,’’ he says.

‘‘I’m hop­ing that is go­ing to come to an end. I want to get this en­gine fin­ished, not to men­tion ev­ery­one else wants me to get it fin­ished be­fore I cark it.’’

Mr Lane says all his fel­low en­gi­neers in the club are grey-haired.

‘‘We are just a bunch of guys who get to­gether and bring along works-in­progress and talk about them.

‘‘We are

all keen model en­gi­neers but we don’t all do the same thing so it is very in­ter­est­ing.’’

Model en­gi­neer­ing has fallen far from what it was in its hey­day, he says.

‘‘I ran an ex­hi­bi­tion in 1987 that was the big­gest we ever had in New Zealand that was held at the Auck­land Uni­ver­sity and it ran for a week.

‘‘Mem­ber­ship was at its high­est in about 1980 but it’s slowly go­ing down.’’

But he says he couldn’t think of a bet­ter place to be than down in his work­shop.

‘‘Keen model en­gi­neers, once they start, they just keep go­ing for­ever. It’s part of your life. I’ll be down in here till the day I die’’.

Photo: ROSE CAW­LEY

Engi­neer nut: Seventy-four-year-old Mur­ray Lane tin­kers away in his work­shop on his 1913 Gnome Monosoupape en­gine which will be on dis­play at How­ick His­tor­i­cal Vil­lage.

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