Comms unit comes to life

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surprise lurks in store for visitors to the Tuapeka Vintage Club Museum during Lawrence Heritage Day this Sunday.

Club members have teamed up to make an impressive new display that will be one of several novel and returning attractions expected to delight crowds.

Club member Jerry Packwood said he wondered if a burglary was afoot when he first stumbled across the installation last week.

‘‘I came round the corner into the radio section, and there was this chap sitting at a desk in a World War 2 uniform.

‘‘He was so realistic, I struck up a conversation with him, to begin with.’’

The ‘‘intruder’’ in question turned out to be a carefully crafted army radio operator manikin, forming part of a display illustrating a typical WW2 signals set-up.

Club member Stevie Robertson obtained the ZC1-MkII field radio, which once belonged to a sea cadets unit, on loan from the collection of the Dwyer family, of Dunedin.

It is the latest addition complementing his collection of several dozen radios, which form a backdrop to the new display.

Wanting to show off the unit to best advantage, Mr Robertson teamed up with manikin maker and artist Graeme Furness. Several other club members donated elements of army uniform.

Mr Packwood said the new display would add to several of the traditional Heritage Day elements popular with visitors, including making scones from grain to griddle, shearing sheep and, new this year, shoeing horses.

Elsewhere in town, other heritage organisations also will be throwing open their doors, from 10am till 4pm.

Several of Lawrence’s historic Colonsay St buildings will be accessible, alongside six historic homes.

The Lawrence Chinese Camp is open to visitors, who can also see Lawrence Lantern Festival’s Jimmy the Dragon walk from the Prospector Cafe to the camp at 1.15pm.

Bellview Wetlands at the entrance to Gabriels Gully has model boats on its pond, and a chance to feed eels.

The Southland-Otago Axeman Association will conduct a woodchopping and sawing demonstration and, at the Lawrence Cemetery, history talks will be given on some of Lawrence’s notable residents.

All attractions would be clearly signposted from the centre of Lawrence, Mr Packwood said.

Roger that . . . A new World War 2 radio operator display graces the Tuapeka Vintage Club Museum, in time for this year’s Lawrence Heritage Day on Sunday. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON