Home' Central District Times : July 17th 2012 Contents 3
CENTRAL DISTRICT TIMES, JULY 17, 2012
A venture into a collector's heaven
Many men spend time in
their sheds. Terry
Karatau is on a mission
to find out what occupies
so many men in their
backyard havens. Harry
Matson's is the first shed
to be featured in a series
of Men and their Sheds.
Organised: Harry Matson says he knows where everything is amid the organised chaos of his shed -- or at least, close to. He is pictured with his grandson Jacob
Smith who is finding his way around the shed as well.
Unusual: One of the many hand tools
that Mr Matson has restored is this
unusual splitting axe made in the
United States and called Chopper 1.
When the axe chops through a piece of
wood, levers extend from the axe head
and force the split open. He is not sure
how old it is.
The male bastion, the man's shed --
not a place anyone would enter
without being invited, but Harry
Matson from Hunterville was kind
enough to allow us to cross the
threshold of his treasure trove.
It's a place where all things
important are stored, as you never
know when they may come in
He was a carpenter/joiner by
trade, but his interest in collecting
railway memorabilia began when he
was a locomotive fireman for the
New Zealand Railways and working
out of Palmerston North.
He has speed signs and other
small pieces that he was able to
obtain many years ago.
One of them is a steam heater
valve off a KA locomotive -- and he
has a story to go with it.
A troop train took soldiers from
Waiouru to Linton Camp sometime
during the 1950s.
On the return journey to the
Taihape depot the crew made an
unofficial stop at Ohingaiti and took
a few on board -- beers, that is.
They then needed to make up
time, consequently derailing the
train at the back of Mangaweka just
before reaching the (old) viaduct.
Mr Matson said when he went to
the site in the 1980s he could still
see the track that was made to flip
the locomotive back on to the line
and tow it away.
He was able to salvage a few
pieces off it such as the valve and a
When diesel locomotives were
introduced Mr Matson lost interest
in the railways and left Palmerston
North, got married and went to
Putaruru to work glazing and cabi-
He moved back to work in the
Post Office in Mangaweka in the
early 1970s, transferred first to Tai-
hape, then Hunterville and Marton.
He retired and moved back to his
hometown of Hunterville where he
now is the much loved custodian of
the school and in his spare time
repairs small motors.
The stuff'' in his two sheds
includes a little railway memor-
abilia and restored push bikes,
motorcycles, old hand tools, air
rifles and pistols. There are shelves
loaded with old wirelesses (radios) --
half of them work, and all sorts of
paraphernalia hanging from the
rafters, piled on shelves, on benches
-- anywhere there is a space.
While the Central District Times
was at the shed, a local, Richard
Nimmo, called in looking for a rim
lock for a door of a restoration job he
is doing, because he knew Harry
would have one''. But Mr Matson
knew one could be bought from a
local shop because the one he had
might come in handy one day''.
As well as riding his motorcycle,
restoring old hand tools is his latest
Perhaps that is because there is
not much room in the shed to do
And anyway, he needs to do some-
thing with the heap of wooden
handles he has in the corner.
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