Ashburton Museum

Room 10 "Ponga" new entrants wanted to find out more about the Ashburton Museum for our unit on Ashburton's 150th Anniversary.

We asked lots of inquiry questions to help us find out. One important question we asked was:

Why and when was the museum built?

We wrote our questions down and took them to the museum man (Mr. Hanrahan) to answer.

We found out that the museum was built in 1995 because the old museum was too small. They built the museum so people like us could learn about the old days and what life was like for our great, great, grandparents.

Here are some pictures of what we found out about the old days.

Great Grandma and Grandpa came to New Zealand on sailing ships. It took a long time and there were no roads, houses, or towns when they arrived.

Great Grandpa had to dig irrigation ditches to get the water to the paddocks in Ashburton so that the grass would grow to feed their animals. They had to grow their own wheat, crops and vegetables because there were no supermarkets.

The children had to help pump the water from the under ground wells because there were no taps in the first houses. We think that it would be hard work to carry all the buckets of water up to the house!! The kids would have to carry the water for drinking, washing the dishes, bathing ... everything! We are glad we have taps now and don't have to work so hard!

Great Grandma and Grandpa had to do the washing in a tub with a washing board and a cake of homemade soap. It was hard work and their arms would get tired.

We think the children would get told off it they came home with dirty clothes. We think they might be made to wash their own clothes if they were not careful. We are glad that we have washing machines.


When Great Grandma ironed the clothes, she had to heat the heavy iron on the stove. If it got too hot it would burn the clothes and make a hole! Great Grandma did not have electricity like us.


After a few years steam engines were invented and big traction engines helped to do the hard work on the Ashburton farms. We think Great Grandpa would be happy to have a traction engine.

Traction engines were HUGE and STRONG. They made a lot of smoke. We saw some real traction engines working at the traction engine display in the countryside near Ashburton.


We saw the penny farthing bike at the museum. You would have to climb up a ladder to get on it because it was so big and high. We think Great Grandpa would really hurt himself if he fell off! We think he would fall off a lot because the roads were not very good in the old days.


Great Grandma had to make her own bread in a camp oven on the fire, or she had to bake it in the wood burner oven like they had in the museum. They did not have bread factories in the old days. We thought it would be fun to try to make bread like Great Grandma.

We decided to make our own bread and butter just like Great Grandma. It was hard work but in the end we had lovely damper bread and homemade butter to enjoy.

We put in the flour.

We put in the salt.

We put in the baking powder.

We put in the milk.

We mixed the bread.

We kneaded bread.

We kneaded and kneaded and kneaded the bread!

We cooked it in the camp oven.

We sliced the bread and we buttered it with our own homemade butter!


We ate our damper bread! Yum! Yum! Just like Great Grandma used to make.