A 36 minute documentary film is shown on request
The film sets out the political context of the Russian scare as it affected New Zealand and Australia and relates the history of torpedo boats in general with specific regard to No.168. It displays historic photographs of the vessel, her crews, exercises and shows graphics of how the spar operated. The 1999 recovery of the Torpedo boat and its subsequent restoration as well as the general history of Magazine Bay as a military reserve are also covered.
As well as the partly re-constructed bow and stern of the Lyttelton torpedo boat, the museum features a scale model of the vessel and an example of the steam engine that once powered it; in pristine working order obtained from one of its long scrapped sister ships.
Thornycroft Torpedo Boat No.168 - A brief History
One of four Torpedo boats purchased by the NZ Government in 1883 in response to the possibility of an invasion by Russian forces.
||Built in Chiswick, London by John I Thornycroft & Co
||Commissioned at Lyttelton.
||Decommissioned and sold.
||Towed to Purau.
||Pulled into sandhills by Mount Herbert County Council traction engine and broken in two.
||Excavated and remains conserved for display.
Particulars of No 168 -Thornycroft Spar Torpedo Boat
||30' Spar torpedo
35lbs gun cotton charge
||Constructed of 1/16inch galvanised high tensile steel.
||Coal fired steam engine giving a maximum speed of 17.5 knots; 650rpm
||All Dimensions are in Feet / Inches
Housed in the category 1 powder magazine building (1874) at Magazine Bay, Lyttelton, this museum primarily exhibits the remains of Thornycroft Torpedo Boat No. 168.
Magazine Bay is situated within a former 5 acre Military Reserve, which was gazetted in 1885 at the time of Russian expansionist threats in the Pacific. The torpedo boat formed part of the coastal defence system for Lyttelton Harbour which included strategically placed gun batteries.
A gun was established on the headland above the magazine building. A slipway and shed for the torpedo boat was built in the bay and also caretaker's and gunner's cottages. The reserve reverted to local Council control in 1984. Interpretative signs are provided.
The sandy beach and reserve are popular places for swimming and picnics in summer and the area has good all season walking tracks.
Adult: $5.00 / Child: $1
/ Family Group maximum $10
Group Tours: - by arrangement, refer to the Lyttelton Information Centre
Lyttelton Information Centre
20 Oxford Street
Phone: 328 9093
Open 9am-5pm daily