John McLachlan has an attentive audience while telling the history behind one of the families vintage cars.

Group tours historic sites

by Callum McDonald

Ellesmere’s rich history was brought to life this month when the local historical society treated 60 guests to a tour of some of the area’s most notable sites.

These included the new Lakeside Soldiers Memorial Hall, Birdling Book homestead and the McLachlan vintage car and machinery collection at the old seed company store in Leeston.

Ellesmere Historical Society president, Stuart Brannigan, said the tour drew people from throughout Canterbury, and some had family links to the area going back to the 1890s.

John and Deborah McLachlan provided the tour group with a warm welcome to their home and farm. Birdling Brook was one of the original runs taken up by William Birdling in 1853.

The group was impressed by the collection of vintage cars, fire engines, trucks, farm vehicles collected by the late John McLachlan senior His favourite cars were Cadillacs.

Another high point for the Ellesmere Historical Society tour group was, somewhat ironically, something new. The new Lakeside Memorial Hall replaced the former hall, which was damaged in the earthquakes.

It opened on August 3 1917, to remember the 13 young men from Lakeside who died in the first world war.