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New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents -

His­toric home­stead vis­ited

Fox­down fea­tured on Country Calendar, TV One, on April 4 at 7pm. The Fox­down home­stead was built in 1937 by Keir and Thompson of Ran­giora, from plans drawn up by Ce­cil Wood. Edith Fox, the present owner’s grand­mother, was of­fered by Alex Fox, her hus­band, a new house or a trip around the world. She chose the new house, al­though she got her trip around the world af­ter World War II.

Andy Fox’s fam­ily have owned Fox­down in Scargill for 136 years, and he’s the fourth gen­er­a­tion of his fam­ily to farm the land, so he knows bet­ter than most that North Can­ter­bury sum­mers can be very, very dry. A 1416-hectare (3500-acre) hill-country prop­erty run­ning about 6000 sheep, and 150 cat­tle, has been in the Fox fam­ily since 1877. Andy Fox is very con­scious of his fam­ily her­itage. To­day he still uses sheep yards built from stone by his great-grand­fa­ther more than a cen­tury ago. He sees it as his duty to leave the farm in a bet­ter state than when he took over — a tradition which has car­ried on down the gen­er­a­tions. Since the late ’80s he’s un­der­taken ma­jor farm devel­op­ment, spend­ing weeks on a bull­dozer, year af­ter year, clearing scrub to con­vert steep hills into pro­duc­tive pas­ture.

Andy loves farm­ing, but he also en­joys peo­ple, which led him to be­come in­volved in var­i­ous farm­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions and then join the board of meat co-op­er­a­tive PPCS (now known as Sil­ver Fern Farms), on which he served for 10 years. He stood down when he was elected to the board of Meat and Wool New Zealand. Andy also makes an im­pact in Welling­ton, too, fitting farm­ing around reg­u­lar com­mutes to the city, where he was on the board of Beef and Lamb New Zealand for nine years. He still does con­tract work for the board on var­i­ous projects while farm man­ager Phill Jones looks af­ter the Scargill Val­ley prop­erty.

De­spite all this, he man­ages to fit an­other pas­sion into his very busy life — col­lect­ing his­toric arte­facts and dis­play­ing them in his pri­vate mu­seum. Un­der­stand­ably, these in­clude farm-re­lated items from over many decades — in­clud­ing a va­ri­ety of barbed-wire de­signs and pro­files — as well as a num­ber of clas­sic cars. He had a mag­nif­i­cent 300-square-me­tre build­ing built for his col­lec­tion in 2008. He’s got hun­dreds of items of mem­o­ra­bilia from days gone by, no doubt bring­ing back mem­o­ries for all who see them. They cer­tainly did for Lor­raine and me.

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