Private collection opens to public

Morris McFall among his private collection of vintage farm tractors, stationary engines, petrol bowsers, memorabilia and classic cars. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

When the doors of McFall Museum open to the public on Sunday, March 19, its highly likely people will have a chance to lay their eyes on vintage tractors, machinery and memorabilia they might not otherwise see.

To many, Morris McFall’s private collection of vintage farm tractors, stationary engines, petrol bowsers and memorabilia is one-of-a-kind. He collects all brands – and spends hours painstakingly restoring each item to its former working glory

“Everything in my museum is fully live,” says Morris.

“When I reduced my level of involvement in the company it became a bit of a hobby – and I suppose a passion,” says the founder of Mount Maunganui-based petroleum business McFall Fuel.

“I had a couple of tractors for 20 years or so but the museum really started to grow in the last seven or eight years.”

He started off with restoring tractors “and because we’re in the petroleum industry I also had a number of vintage petrol bowsers dating back to the 1910s”.

The tractors represent 15 brands originating from Germany, England, Scotland, Australia, the United States and Canada.

And the collection has expanded to classic cars. “I have a Cadillac, a Rolls Royce, a Ford Thunderbird and a Studebaker. And there are two others outside the collection at the present time; a Mercedes and Jensen Healy.”

“They are all classics and all are very low mileage and mint condition-type vehicle.”

So how did cars come into the museum? “By accident,” jokes Morris.

“Well at various stages, because I guess people have got to know I collect things and make them new again I’ve had offers from time to time for cars as well.

“But I’m 82 now and as years go on climbing around cars and repairing and servicing isn’t quite as easy as it used to be.

“Whereas on tractors the working bits are much more accessible.”

Next weekend, on Sunday, March 19, McFall Museum is opening to the public for the second time in two years – as a fundraiser for Morris’ Mount Maunganui Rotary Club.

His son Bryce, who is Mount Maunganui Rotary Club president, is also part of why Morris created the museum.

“Bryce is a tetraplegic as a result of a quad bike accident about 14 years ago. And one of the reasons I got involved in building a museum was it was something Bryce could spend time with me, killing the days.

“He has no use of his arms or legs, but there is nothing wrong with his brain – and he just enjoys being with me and watching the progress.”

McFall Museum on Hocking St, Mount Maunganui, will be open to the public from 10am-3pm on March 19. Morris will have some of the machines running. “And we’re also providing a sausage sizzle.”

All revenue made will be donated back to rotary – and end up going to the community.

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