Royal Mail Coach
Maker and role
Siddle Smith and Woodman, Manufacturer
Royal Mail, Commissioned by
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A wagonette is a four-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle, with two rows of passenger seats facing each other. This vehicle has been converted into a coach during its working life. The rail on the top of the roof would have allowed bags to be stored there.
Coaches were an important form of transport throughout New Zealand. This coach was operated in Northland, between Mangonui and Kaitaia up until 1923. As well as carrying the ‘Royal Mail’ they also took passengers from town to town or to the nearest railway station. Slowly the horse-drawn coaches disappeared as motorised buses, cars and locomotives took over.
In those days the roads were of a poor standard, if there were roads at all. The coaches would sometimes travel along river beds or beaches, often getting bogged down in mud, or sometimes washed away while crossing flooded rivers.
In 1965 MOTAT purchased this coach and a restoration was completed.