More then 110 years after they were first introduced locally by Kaiwaka pioneer Egbert Dowson, the Kauri Museum is dusting off his antique projector and slides for a unique show for students and visitors at an upcoming school holiday program.
Egbert John Dowson – known to his family as Bert – was a son of Kaiwaka and born in 1871. As a young man he travelled the world in the late 1800s, touring America, England, Scotland and Wales, and visiting the Great Exhibition in Paris and Africa.
While in the United States he visited Thomas Edison. Though initially refused a meeting, Egbert argued he had not come 17,000 miles to be turned away and said he would not leave until he saw the great inventor. This resulted in an interview.
While in the US he purchased a magic lantern and a set of slides, which he used to show in Kaiwaka. In 1899 he bought a buggy and harness that came by boat to Mangawhai, then travelled around Northland showing the slides.
In 1900 Egbert was returning from another overseas trip when the Boer War started and like so many patriotic young men he joined up and went with the sixth contingent to South Africa where he was killed in action in 1902.
His projector and slide collection, now at the Kauri Museum for safe keeping, will be shown working as part of the school holiday program.
“Staff are excited and humbled that they have the opportunity to show the old technology and some very special slides,” says museum head Bett Nelley. “They feel sure that Egbert Dowson would be delighted that the show could go on more than 110 years later.”
Kauri gum polishing, pianola recitals, and storytelling will also be part of the programme that will run weekdays July 15-19 and 22-26 from 10am – 3.30pm.