Home' The Mirror Central Otago : March 27th 2013 Contents 22
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'A Blast from the Past'
Featuring The Beat Girls
SATURDAY 13TH APRIL 2013
"This is a night you just don't
want to miss out on.."
Proud sponsors of the
Arrowtown Autumn Festival 2013
12 - 21 April
FROM Page 21
A makeover has been part of this journey, as
has opportunities too many to list.
Immortalised in print, used to cart everything
from market garden vegetables to hay and
tiles, the tales which epitomise 'Old Red's ' life
are as endless as the leaves on the ground in
Arrowtown through autumn.
It was back in 2011, and the annual
Arrowtown Autumn Festival Parade that will
be remembered as the event which heralded
'Old Red's' new lease of life, when this
lovingly-restored former farm truck took pride
of place in the parade line-up with the Arrow
Miners Band on board.
Step back in time some three years earlier to
2008 and this will be the year which was the
catalyst for 'Old Red's new lease of life and her
subsequent journey along Buckingham Street
in her revamped style.
From tip to toe, the transformation was
begun, with assistance coming from all
corners. Vintage Tyres were provided for the
truck by Firestone, some panelbeating and
then a new paint job were all part of the
However some would even say that this new
lease of life could even have had its inception
some 16 years earlier, not three years, when
the late Noel Stevenson gave the truck to the
Arrow Miners Band with the wish that she
would continue to be used as the stage for
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Stories unfold around this iconic vehicle of
which Noel's wife Alma and their family are
In particular it is the role which 'Old Red' has
played in Arrowtown over the years and the
knowledge that she is now virtually an iconic
part of Arrowtown's heritage along with the
annual festival, that is especially delightful.
Come this year's Arrowtown Autumn Festival
however, there will a hint of nostalgia around
'Old Red's' presence in the celebrations, with
the passing of Alma Stevenson, Noel's widow,
late last year.
Early in 2012 Mrs Stevenson told of the laughs
the family had when 'Old Red' was purchased
by Noel from her market gardener owner in
North Otago so many years ago and recalls
being very excited about getting this new
truck for the farm. But unbeknown to her, it
had fallen to bits on the way home, and was
quickly tucked away into the shed by Noel
when it arrived at their farm.
''Noel said he was going to do it up, but when
I went and looked at it, I was appalled at how
it did look,'' Alma said.
But that is all part of Old Red's history now,
just as its name is - 'Old Red' evolving from the
Stevenson family's farming days, and because
they also had a blue truck on their farm, it was
logical to bring Red into its name to
differentiate them, and this name has stayed
with the vehicle ever since.
Many years later, on moving to their property
near Lake Hayes, the truck went with the
Stevensons, carting a lot of their gear up here
which was then left stored on it, tucked away
in a shed.
Eventually 'Old Red' was brought out to
feature every year as part of the Arrowtown
Autumn Festival and many people will recall
the truck featuring as part of the parades,
albeit in quite a different format, decked out
to resemble the Clampett family's truck from
the Beverly Hillbillies television show and
loaded up with a lot of old stuff until it was
given to the Miners Band to be used as a
It was from this era that another chapter in
'Old Red's' life evolved with the story of 'Old
Red' written by Alma Stevenson, one that was
initially penned at the suggestion of family
friend Barry Bain. From the first few lines
which Alma wrote, a book emerged which
was eventually illustrated and published and
has since been read and enjoyed by many
children, from the Stevenson grandchildren to
other youngsters the length of New Zealand.
Letters which came to Alma in the mail were
on-going proof of this enjoyment.
Since then other stories were written by Alma
that added to the 'Old Red' story, and again
brought immense pleasure to those who have
'''Old Red has now become a bit of an icon for
Arrowtown, and as Noel said, is indeed a
'great loyal little truck' and has adapted well
to its changes in usage,'' Alma said last year.
''It will last now for many years -- it is well shod
and panel beaten, and it is good that she
comes out every year. She is quite an
attraction during the Autumn Festival.''
''Old Red' is indeed the luckiest Old Red Truck
in Arrowtown and New Zealand.
Just imagine the stories 'Old Red' could relate
It's amazing what the future might hold for a
vehicle which was once a mainstay on a farm.
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