AT LEAST 15 pineapple farmers and their families recently gathered at Pike’s Post (Ploughman’s Hall) to celebrate the construction of a new shed at the Bathurst Agricultural Museum.
Pineapple farmers as far as East London made the trip for the special occasion and to join their fellow farmers for a night of celebration and fun.
The new shed, funded by pineapple farmers, is to serve as an extension of the existing museum, museum committee president Alan Pike said.
For Pike and others members of the Bathurst Agricultural Museum it had been a dream come true.
“In 1977, the media referred to this as an ambitious museum scheme. Well, how we and our predecessors have proved them wrong,” said Pike.
The first building at the museum was completed in 1978 at a cost of R10 000. An extension of 60 feet to the new building was completed in 1981, and in 1984 it was found necessary to erect another large building. Then in 1988 another building was started and only completed six years later.
The Lister Room, an extension of the HH Norton Engine Room, was built was built a few years ago by Walter Penny and Jon Pieters. With the overwhelming amount of historical artefacts sourced through the region, the necessity for an additional building came up once again.
“Two years ago, I was at my wits end and ready to throw away the keys. While lying awake at night wondering how we would ever be able to afford another shed, I realised we would never receive any help from government and the only help we could expect would be from farmers, because this is our agricultural heritage we have here,” said Pike.
He approached fellow pineapple farmers and asked them to donate a bin’s worth of pines to the museum’s build-a-shed project.
“The response was tremendous,” said Pike. At least R6 000 was raised per bin and all together, Pike with help of the farmers raised R12 000 which was the cost of the steel structure and roof. The shed which is 15m x 30m so far has its structure and roof and had received a generous donation from Makana Brick which donated 40 000 bricks to close the building.
“We are most grateful,” said Pike.
Pike also thanked Muir Trans which transported the bricks from Grahamstown in multiple trips, and Mark Harris who donated R10 000 and the cost to cover shot blasting to paint the old ploughs. Harris also supplied labour for digging and pouring the foundations. The Humansdorp Co-op sponsored 100 pockets of cement, the primer on the ploughs and also the evening’s function.
Several other individuals have come together to assist the extension and progression of the Bathurst Agricultural Museum, including Greg Pike, who assisted with his tractors and staff, as well as the Evans family who donated R30 000 for the extension of the Oscar Evans Engine Room which will hold the Tangey Suction Gas Engine which the late Oscar Evans donated. The aforesaid engine was used to pump one million gallons of water a day for irrigation out of the Fish River in the early 1900s.
Paul Hobson from Hobson & Co donated R10 000 towards the completion of the old smithy (Trappes Valley Goods shed) and Algoa Steel sponsored a veranda onto the Geoff Palmer Hall to give much needed protection to the mowers and ploughs that stood along that wall.
“This has given the museum a new appearance,” said Pike.