Remembering Russell Glendinning

Railway-sleeper & cartwheel seat, memorial information board and life-size cutout figure of Russell Glendinning make up the memorial.

Russell Glendinning was a giant of a man in Northern Southland. I think you’d be hard-put to find anyone as passionate and dedicated to trains and community as the man known to many as Mr Kingston Flyer.

A Crowd Gathers In Garston

On February 22nd a crowd gathered near the little railway shed on the Garston Green. They came from all over Southland and beyond.  Railwaymen caught up with their mates. St John’s personnel leant against their ambulance chatting to friends. 

Locals from Kingston, Garston and Athol came along. Family, friends, dignitaries… 

We were all there to honour one extraordinary man.

The Russell Glendinning Memorial Seat

The Russell Glendinning memorial, railway sleeper & cart-wheel seat with information board. The Kingston Flyer cutout runs along the top.

This rustic seat is a heartfelt tribute to a legendary Southlander. And, like Mr Glendinning, it’s down-to-earth yet complex. Aaron Abernethy built it carefully, from railway sleepers and cartwheels. Russell might have blushed to read the information board created by Donna Hawkins and Chris Chilton. But he’d have loved the attention to detail on Macaela Hawkins’ re-creation of the Kingston Flyer perched on top.

“I think it is a great tribute to Russell,” said Kingston Flyer Ltd Director Neville Simpson. “It’s a place to come and remember him, to sit and contemplate. 

Russell used to do a lot of that. He’d go up the track, do a few sleepers then lie back in the grass and contemplate life.”

But, who was Russell Glendinning and why did 100 people gather to honour him on that rain-threatened afternoon?

Let’s find out.

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Philippa O’Brien: From Film to Photography

Photographer Philippa O’Brien travelled the world before coming home to Kingston. Now, her latest adventure is more personal; the opening of a new art gallery at her lakeside cottage. 

Philippa O'Brien in the doorway of her Oxford Art Gallery in Kingston.

In this bright room, you’ll find copies of her three books. ‘Photo Fables,’ (whimsical tales without words.) ‘How Art’ (a book of poems and photos with her Dad, Des.) And ‘Skateface,’ her sensitive portrayal of New Zealand’s roller derby world. 

There are huge, framed photos of cowboys on the gallery walls, part of Pip’s recent rodeo series. 

And what about the carefully-oiled yes/no river stones? These are ‘Seyonstones’ — a tool that Philippa created to “help when you just can’t make up your mind.”

Art photography — on old-fashioned, film cameras — is Philippa’s passion. Her photos are detailed and thought-provoking. The more you look, the more there is to see.

But, before she got behind the lens, Philippa O’Brien had another intriguing career. I’ve always wanted to know more about the world of movie costumes, so I was thrilled when Pip agreed to tell me all about her job as a costumier.

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Jane Sutherland: Fabulous Fashion In Kingston

Fashion designer Jane Sutherland's iconic photo in an armchair by the lake in Kingston.

Last year Jane Sutherland wowed us in Athol with a fashion show at the Hide. It had everything you’d expect: sleek hair, sexy make-up. Lights, music, models — go-getting locals rocked the gorgeous clothes on stage. What a night!

Jane’s known for her signature style. That’s top-quality fabric and timeless design married with hand-made metal jewellery. More than anything I craved the white coat. Wish I didn’t spend half my life hunched over a laptop and the other half with kids or on the farm. 

I know zilch about fashion. So my questions tumbled out when I met Jane at her Kingston studio. After 20+ years in the fashion biz, there was a lot to talk about.

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The Great Rides App: Gary Patterson

The Tracks We Take

The Great Rides App is the brainchild of Kingston’s Gary Patterson. The app’s a super resource to guide cyclists along the greatest bike trails in New Zealand. It’s a brilliant idea — but where did it come from?

It turns out that Gary’s own trail has been an adventure-filled ride all the way.

Gary Patterson with his cycle and phone using the Great Rides App
Gary Patterson with The Great Rides App.
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