Newspaper Article 1997 – Ormondville Railway Station Official Opening



The Committee of the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have given their skill, time and expertise so freely over the past 11½ years.

The restored Ormondville railway station which this year won the Rail Heritage Trust of New Zealand award. Care was taken to ensure that even the sign writing was the same as that done last century when the station was built in 1880.


Two of the leading lights behind the Ormondville Railway Restoration Group. Paul Mahoney (left) of Wellington and Fred Playle, Ormondville, with a group of willing workers at a recent working bee.


Official opening of railway station

The official opening of the restored Ormondville railway on Sunday is a tribute to all the hard work by residents and railway enthusiasts done at monthly working bees since 1993.

Wairarapa MP and Minister of Education Wyatt Creech will do the honours at 2.30pm after first visiting the Norsewood market day.

A special train, ‘The Norsewear Express,’ will bring up to 300 people into Ormondville in the morning and return transport for passengers is available to tie in with both events.

The express arrives at the station at 9.20am and the return train leaves the station for Palmerston North at 3pm, after the official opening.

One of the main instigators of the preservation project, Paul Mahoney of Wellington, will deliver a history of the station in Ormondville at 1pm.

Mr Mahoney’s work and hobby blend well together. His work is based in Wellington as a senior officer for the Department of Conservation and includes assessing historic buildings.

His grandfather used to build railway stations and his father wrote a book on New Zealand stations. During the 1980’s he travelled with him to every station in New Zealand to decide which should be saved.

Once there were 1350 railway stations operating throughout New Zealand, now there are 40.


My best wishes for the future of the Ormondville Railway and Ormondville Rail Preservation Group.
The historic restoration work was a pleasure to undertake.
Phone (025)529-870 Fax (06)374-5988


Experiencing history

By Dorothy Ropiha

The conserving of New Zealand’s historic places allows us to experience our history and culture. If they are destroyed, part of our culture is lost forever.

Neglect, disinterest, vandalism or insensitive alterations threatens much of our past. But this is not inevitable. Each community has supporters who work in a wide range of heritage conservation projects.

Heritage conservation, in its widest sense, adds to our knowledge and all in all, increases our awareness and our history.

As the New Zealand Historic Places Trust works through identifying and researching the historical heritage it must surely ensure the enrichment of our environment.

The restoration of the Ormondville railway station complex must be a case in point. By research, planning and management a small slice of New Zealand’s transport system has been preserved.

An example with its beginnings in the Vogel era of public works and immigration 1870 – to open up the country for settlement, to expand load and rail to allow for the transport of timber, people and stock between Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu and Wairarapa.

While its hey day is passed it remains tangible evidence of “Ormondville’s glorious past.”


Aiming for working station

The Ormondville Preservation Group, formed in 1987 by residents and railway enthusiasts, aims to display a working station as it was in the 1960’s when it was at its peak.

During that decade annual farm output put through the yards totalled 7000 cattle, 120,000 sheep, 10,000 bales of wool and 20,000 tons of fertiliser was brought in.

There was a base of 15 employees in Ormondville with their families adding to the vitality of the community. There were two clerical, three signal, six track and four bridge workers.

“We want to keep the place looking work worn,” group member and past president Paul Mahoney says, pointing to a pile of old suitcases on an old luggage cart which adorns the station.

On the other side of the track beside the large workshop a 1940’s shunter has just been given another lease of life with the installation of a new engine, donated by district identity Bert Halford.

A caboose (workman’s hut) has been painted in keeping with the station colours and can serve as a bunkhouse.

On the drawing board for a millenium [millennium] project is replacing the former stockyards and restoring the two JC sheep wagons and one cattle wagon, president Fred Playle says.

The latter arrived only three weeks ago by courtesy of Tranz Rail from Ferrymead, Christchurch.

The group also has meat and butter wagons stored in the workshop for upgrading.


Suppliers of all paint products for the Ormondville Railway Station
Congratulations on a great achievement.
You bought the best for the best results.
165 High St. Phone (06) 374-6290


Mayoral message

By Bill Bly
Tararua Mayor

A quote I read recently said: “Just think – Think of all the things you have going for you today. You’re alive, you’re full of energy. You’re intelligent, effective, and able to accomplish whatever you put your mind to. You’re full of passion and purpose, and you can make things happen.”

These words must surely apply to the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group. I congratulate you on completing the restoration work on the Ormondville station. Not only has this project been finished but it has been completed to such a high standard that it was the winner of the prestigious 1997 Rail Heritage Trust Restoration Award.

The restoration of the Ormondville station is a great example of various groups in the community working together for the good of the district. It is pleasing to note that the council, acting on the concerns of Ormondville residents, was the key in persuading NZ Railways not to demolish the station. I believe the council has a great role to play in advocacy and we need to be constantly communicating with our residents to see if there are ways in which we can help them.

The addition of the station to our tourism attractions is most welcome. The brochure giving details on the Ormondville station bed and breakfast motel and the history of the station makes for interesting reading. We are fortunate that this part of our history has been preserved for future generations.

I look forward to the official opening ceremony on Sunday and would encourage people to come and join in this special event.


Tribute to past

By Tom Castles

During the early days of the Dannevirke District Council it came to my attention as a councillor that with the closure of the Ormondville railway station unless some action was taken there was a possibility the station could become derelict and an eyesore to passing traffic.

Restructuring of railways was taking place and with the closure of stock handling facilities trains (with the exception of the Endeavour) would not be stopping.

A group of rail enthusiasts were keen to restore the station to its former glory and asked the District Council for help. Council lobbied railways and the request was agreed to, and the people concerned started making plans for the restoration of the station and the surrounds. The opening on Sunday, November 30 is the culmination of the enormous amount of time and effort that has gone on over the years.

Many people have worked long and hard, over the period, raising money, attending working bees, donating time, materials and money to ensure the dream of the small band of rail enthusiasts is finally realised.

Could I congratulate everyone who has played a part in the restoration of the Ormondville railway station, it is a fitting tribute to the past and an important feature in our district for generations to come.


Holmes Show film crew in Ormondville

Lisa Manning of Television One and a cameraman were in Ormondville filming last Tuesday for the Holme’s Show, due to be presented tonight unless a more earth shattering event supercedes it.

President Fred Playle said they shot heaps of footage and he knows of many people at the ready with their video recorders.

He rounded up a ‘few colourful locals’ for the afternoon and as luck had it, others were working on the caboose and shunter.

Lisa included them in the interviews and “all in all it was a very interesting day,” he said.

Coral Cave, who lives near the railway station and caters for homestay guests who experience New Zealand’s only bed and breakfast located in a railway station, catered lunch and dinner.

“The evening meal was like a banquet,” Fred said, “but they did such a wonderful job it was one way of repaying them.”


Congratulations to the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group
For the supply of all your timber requirements contact
198 High St.
Ph: (06) 374-7686


Always an idea as a means of fundraising toward the restoration of Ormondville railway station, the former luggage room boasts New Zealand’s only rail bed and breakfast accommodation.

An adjoining room has two single beds: the former telephone exchange is a kitchen, a bathroom has replaced a large walk-in safe and the main office is the lounge/dining room.

Railway memorabilia still adorn the room and up to six trains pass on weeknights – a highlight for some (there are no night trains on Saturdays and Sundays)!

The tastefully decorated main bedroom at the Ormondville Railway Station. Cabin trunks appropriately take the place of dressing and bedside tables.


Tranz Scenic
congratulates the Ormondville Rail Preservation Society on the completion of the Ormondville Railway Station
Tranz Scenic
Unique Train Journeys

Congratulations to your official opening of this refurbished, historical Ormondville Railway Station.
Excellent work, well done!
Creating a Competitive Advantage for our Customers

Congratulations to Paul Mahoney, Karen Jones and the workers of the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group for a job well done.
Matamau-Ormondville Road
Makotuku   Phone 374-1813

Ian Stephenson Contracting Earthmovers
Proud to have been of service to the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group

Congratulations to the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group
Pleased to be entrusted with the security and electrical upgrade of the station.
4 Queen St. Phone (06) 374-6201 or 025-313-705

Congratulations to the Ormondville Rail Preservation Group
Wishing you all the best for future endeavours
Matamau-Ormondville Road
Ormondville   Phone 374-1823

Cheer’s Sign Service

I offer quality workmanship for all your Domestic, Gas Fitting and Drain Laying requirements
Local agent for Enerco Gas
Call me
Millers Road
Phone 374-8916 or (025) 535-981
Enerco Gas

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Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

25 November 1997

Creator / Author

  • Bill Bly
  • Tom Castles
  • Dorothy Ropiha


Evening News


  • Coral Cave
  • Member of Parliament Wyatt Creech
  • Andrew Donaldson
  • Brent Frampton
  • Karen Jones
  • Paul Mahoney
  • Lisa Manning
  • Fred Playle
  • Steve Wallace

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