A historical cottage surrounded by scaffolding and in desperate need of a new coat of paint sits on Marton's Wellington St.

Behind the cottage is a building that was once a jail and backing on to that is an old stable containing a large wooden horse cart.

Then you pass the workshop, the fox room and the fusilier room before arriving at the final building - the records room, full of thousands of photos and documents.

The Marton and District Historical Society was open all day Saturday and Sunday as part of Rangitikei Heritage Weekend, an event that happens every May.


"Every year has a theme and this year it's sports," treasurer Pat Hayman said.

"One museum's going in for rugby, one's going in for their marching band, but we've done a board because we have had some famous sportspeople from Marton."

Museums from Bulls, Marton, Hunterville, Mangaweka and Taihape participated in and celebrated the event as they are all a part of the Rangitikei Heritage Group.

One prominent figure on display in the records room was long distance runner Gordon Bromley who won five national marathon titles.

Born in Scotts Ferry in 1916, Bromley spent most of his life in Marton and placed seventh at the 1950 British Empire Games. He died in 2006 aged 89.

Hayman said Bessie Fullerton-Smith was another important part of Marton's history with sport.

"She represented us in Australia, England and France and she won all sorts of stuff as a golf player.

"She only died a few years ago and she was 101."


Fullerton-Smith was also a keen horsewoman, riding in hunts from the early 1940s until the 1990s.

Notable clubs on display were the Marton Bowling Club and the Marton Cricket Club.

"The Marton Cricket Club has been going since 1875, but when they started they had to go to Wellington to play games and it took them four days on horseback," Hayman said.

"The bowling club's been going since 1906. I'm amused, I said 'was the uniform in those days that you always had to have the same moustache and beard'."

The Marton and District Historical Society has a committee of eight and approximately 60 members who are mostly in their 70s, 80s and 90s.

As well as upgrades to the historical cottage and jail, which will require some help from grants, Hayman is on a mission to find young new members.

Hayman said Saturday had been quiet, but the people that had come through were all interesting, with a combination of researchers and new faces dropping by.