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People crowd a railway station platform and board a train. The train departs south towards Wellington. Older women in black hats, men with stiff collars, ties, fob watches, moustaches and pipes, some wear Exhibitor’s passes. Younger people wear white boaters. Youths wear cloth caps. Some doff hats toward camera. The station guard is surrounded by the throng as they hurry onto the train.
Passengers wave handkerchiefs from train carriages at men standing besides rail line, train passes and SIGN “Black Diamond Express LeHigh Valley Railroad” is revealed besides track - men leap onto railroad waving hats

The comment has been made that it is ‘Not a New Zealand Scene’ but this may be because the original nitrate was combined with the Edison film BLACK DIAMOND EXPRESS and the American style carriages. Yet there is a very New Zealand feel to it, and in terms of the treble track layout, station verandah outline, the location of the circular ornamentation at the end of the verandah, and the skyline background of trees also equates to the view from the south end of the Palmerston North station at this period..

The distinctive American style passenger cars with their clerestory-style roofs are characteristic of the privately owned Wellington and Manawatu Railway Co that used Palmerston North until nationalised into New Zealand Rail in 1909. See ‘A view of Palmerston North Station, North Island, New Zealand about 1900.’ (Photo taken by A.B. Harris) published in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 4, July 1, 1936, p. 46. New Zealand Electronic Text Centre. For a reverse view of the station see L Daroux photo ‘Palmerston North Railway Station: Departure of the New Plymouth Mail Train, Otago Witness, 9 July 1902, p.46. For the detail of the American-style clerestory roofs on the passenger cars, see ‘Engine 11 of the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Co. pulling a train out of Thorndon, Wellington, 1892, Ref: 1/2-018847-F.

The verandah design, the position of the circular ornamentation at the end of the verandah and a sense of the track layout can also be gauged from the images in J D Mahoney, Down at the Station: A Study of the New Zealand Railway Station, Dunmore Press, Palmerston North, 1987, pp.124-129.

Notes by Chris Pugsley

This identification was confirmed by the Film Historian Clive Sowry who stated (7/04/2009):

“The Departure of the Wellington Train from Palmerston North Station after the Show, was probably filmed just before and about 4.55pm on Friday November 15, 1901. It was filmed by J.H. Brown as part of the “Palmerston Show by Biograph” series and was first screened by the Empire Specialty Company at the Federal Theatre, Wellington, on November 20, 1901.

This was advertised in the Evening Post on 20 November 1901, p.6, as BIOGRAPH PICTURES OF THE PALMERSTON SHOW... Departure of the Wellington Train from the Palmerston North Station after the Show’. The cameraman was identified in the article ‘The Manawatu Show’ Evening Post, 15 November 1901, p.2. ‘kinematograph pictures taken by Mr J.H. Brown, of Wellington, on behalf of Messrs. Linley and Donovan of the Empire Specialty Company, which will be shown in the city.’ “

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Year 1901

Reference number F2142

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Actuality

Duration 0:01:35

Production company Empire Specialty Company

Credits Camera: John Henry Brown
[Producers]: Messrs. Linley & Donovan

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