facebook   twitter   mail  

The Nelson Photo News



People and Their Hobbies

For 35 years, the late Mr Russell Ricketts spent every available waking minute working on model ships to add to an ever-growing collection. Today, in a room at a house in Haven Road, his son, Captain Bill Ricketts, cares for and adds to what is a unique sea-faring museum in New Zealand. Bill (above), master of the Portland, has about 2000 individual pieces in this collection. There are more than 320 bottles, each containing one rigged ship inside and some as many as three, and carboys, like that below, in which he has assembled 15 fully-rigged ships. Some of the items are historic pieces - like the mirror of the Louisa Campbell, wrecked on Farewell Spit in 1847, and a pair of caliphers made by his grandfather and brought to Nelson in 1842. At left is a small figurehead which once showed the way to the yacht Maritana, finally wrecked off the Chatham Islands in 1939.


There are many superb pieces in the collection, but none more so than the model (above) of the four-masted barque, Hera, originally a Norwegian wool clipper. The vessel caught fire at Port Underwood and was towed to Nelson where it was used as a hulk. Part of this model, complete even to minute blocks and tackle, was made from the timber of the Hera. Other exhibits are real posers - like the bottles (left) with the arrows through them.

Leaving The District?-Lets Say Cheerio To You In Photo News! (and for only $3.80 we'll post you a copy every month for 12 months.)


Captain Ricketts displays some of the smaller pieces in the collection. He is very keen to have a nautical museum established somewhere in New Zealand, either on its own or as part of a provincial museum. Any takers, anyone?