Farming history relived

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An annual celebration of North Otago’s farming history is about to unfold.
“The Victorian Farm Comes Alive at Totara Estate” takes place on Sunday from 10am to 4pm. The estate, 8km south of Oamaru, is where the first shipment of frozen lamb was prepared for export to England in 1882.
Estate manager Anne Sutherland said this year’s event would build on the success of previous years, allowing visitors to “experience the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the 1880s farm”.
Visitors can watch a saddler, a stonemason, a woodworker, a farrier and a whip-maker at work, and see a whip cracked at noon and 2.30pm.
A blade shearer will see if he can outpace mechanised gear before the fleeces are given to spinners and weavers.
A chaff-cutter will be operated by the North Otago Vintage Machinery Club. Ploughs old and new can be compared, penny-farthings sized up, and electric bikes inspected.
Victorian cameras will be clicking, a dressmaker has clothes to try on, the laundress will need a hand, and visitors can enjoy demonstrations of willow-weaving, cobbling, and making stained glass windows, soap, candles, preserves, butter, and drinks.
Waitaki Community Gardens volunteers will run Victorian garden games. People are encouraged to take along homegrown pumpkins to see whose is biggest.
Victorian “domestic goddess” Marise Martin will give a talk at 11.30am on how herbs were used in New Zealand households in the 1880s. Visitors can write down their own “remedy memory” in a special book.
Animals will include Clydesdale horses, Highland cattle, dogs, goats, poultry, and sheep. A vet will be at the small animal tent around 12.30pm to 1.30pm to explain how to look after pets.
Barry Hobbs will show how sheep dogs are trained and give dog trialling demonstrations at 11.30am and 2pm.
“Travelling peddlers” will sell their wares among the crowds.
A popular activity being reinstated this year is the Swaggers’ Race to the Brydone Monument. Registrations will be taken on the day for a 3pm start.
The special guest is gardening columnist, broadcaster and author Lynda Hallinan, who lives on a 20ha property with a vast vegetable garden, heritage fruit orchard, and assorted animals. She will make jam at her own stall, chat about her latest book and give a public talk at 2pm.
Dunedin band Delgirl will perform live at 12.15pm and 1.15pm, and the day finishes with a giant tug-of-war.
Entry (cash only) is $10 for adults, $5 for school-aged children, and $25 for families with school-aged children.
Oamaru’s double-decker bus is taking passengers to and from the estate. It will leave the Northside New World supermarket at 10am, 11am, noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm, stopping at Waitaki Girls’ High School, the Brydone Hotel, the corner of Tyne and Wansbeck Sts, and Awamoa Park. The bus leaves Totara Estate at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm. The fare each way is $2.50 for an adult, $1 for a child, and $5 for a family.
Car-parking is also available.

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