Otago Daily Times

Birth­day party for ‘Josephine’ at Toitu

- HAMISH MACLEAN hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz Arts · Dunedin · LEGO Education WeDo · New Zealand · Port Chalmers · New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition

A CROWD of about 40 chil­dren sang happy birth­day to the 148­year­old lo­co­mo­tive parked in the foyer at Toitu yes­ter­day.

Toitu vis­i­tor pro­gramme co­or­di­na­tor Phoebe Thomp­son said the ‘‘proper birth­day party’’ the mu­seum put on for Josephine, or­dered for use on the freshly built Dunedin and Port Chalmers rail­way in 1872, was a Dunedin tra­di­tion that cap­tured the city’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion for his­tory and trains.

‘‘It’s mostly for kids, but there’s a lot of train en­thu­si­asts in Dunedin too,’’ Miss Thomp­son said.

This year, Miss Thomp­son brought in Kaitrin McMul­lan, whose sto­ry­telling and ac­tiv­i­ties proved ‘‘su­per cute and re­ally in­ter­ac­tive’’.

Ms McMul­lan told the story of how Josephine, which ar­rived in Dunedin with her ‘‘sis­ter’’ Rose as a com­pli­cated ‘‘Lego set’’, was well used at the end of the 19th cen­tury.

Rose crashed, but Josephine car­ried on un­til she was ‘‘sold for a song’’ in 1917.

She es­caped the scrapheap and was sub­se­quently dis­played at Dunedin’s New Zealand and South Seas In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion in 1925.

For more than three decades, Josephine was kept out­side the mu­seum, ex­posed to the el­e­ments.

But af­ter a cam­paign to save her in the 1960s, she was re­stored and later in­stalled in a pur­pose­built an­nex to the mu­seum, Ms McMul­lan said.

Face paint­ing, a choco­late birth­day cake and Vic­to­rian crafts com­pleted the morn­ing at the mu­seum, Miss Thomp­son said.

She was happy with the turnout in the busy foyer yes­ter­day, pleased so many had come to cel­e­brate ‘‘on a wet, mis­er­able day that it is’’.

 ?? PHOTO: PETER MCIN­TOSH ?? Toot toot! . . . Try­ing out the train tracks laid in the foyer at Toitu in hon­our of its dou­ble­ended Fair­lie steam lo­co­mo­tive, Kor­ben Tay­lor (3), of Dunedin, takes part in the cel­e­bra­tions at Josephine's 148th birth­day bash yes­ter­day.
PHOTO: PETER MCIN­TOSH Toot toot! . . . Try­ing out the train tracks laid in the foyer at Toitu in hon­our of its dou­ble­ended Fair­lie steam lo­co­mo­tive, Kor­ben Tay­lor (3), of Dunedin, takes part in the cel­e­bra­tions at Josephine's 148th birth­day bash yes­ter­day.

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