About Marlborough Museum

Marlborough Museum

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Marlborough Museum is in Brayshaw Heritage Park, surrounded by all things heritage! The Museum is known for its Wine Exhibition, Te Pokohiwi 1250 A.D. (Wairau Boulder Bank archaeology exhibiton), including the famous Jim Eyles Collection. Marlborough history (Captain James Cook, natural history), Victorian Rooms and the remarkable pottery collections of Elizabeth Lissaman, and Fran Maguire are also highlights!

The Museum celebrates an inspiring collection of items which tell the story of Marlborough. Open everyday 10 - 4, closed Christmas Day. Marlborough Archives are part of the Museum complex open 10 - 4 Tuesdays and by appointment on Thursdays. Contact us to make arrangements outside of these times if necessary.

Step outside, into the rest of Brayshaw Heritage Park, and be inspired by vintage cars, vintage machinery, and of course Beavertown, our replica street scene.

The Marlborough Museum Ambassador is Marlborough Champion, businesswoman, and journalist, Toni Gillan.

To find out about supporting the Museum click on the Support Us tab on the home page.

Marlborough Archives Research Hours

Our small team is made up of dedicated staff who always endeavour to do their best, but please help us by being patient, and plan ahead, so that we can help you as best as we can. 

Please be advised that enquiries by email will be the easiest way that we can help you.

Archives Brochure (pdf 115Kb)


Steve Austin, Executive Director

Steve joined the Museum in 2006 to lead the Museum into its next phase of development. He graduated in Art History, Music and Classical History. He has a First Class Honours degree in History. He is a qualified teacher, and also holds the National Certificate in Museum Practice.

As part of the 1842 founding families of Nelson, his family's connections in Marlborough go back to before the separation of Nelson and Marlborough in 1859. Notably his great-great-grand father's unique steam engine is in Brayshaw Park, with the Marlborough Vintage Farm Machinery Society. His great-uncle, grand-father, and father worked on the Molesworth, and in surrounding areas.

After lecturing at Christchurch College of Education for ten years, Steve worked in Wellington at the City Gallery (Education Assistant) before moving to The Dowse (Host Team Leader), followed by three years at The Nelson Provincial Museum, (Manager of Programmes and Curatorial Services).

Steve has written a number of articles on Marlborough heritage that are now available on The Prow website, and assisted with the Marlborough entry in 'Te Ara', the on-line Encyclopedia of New Zealand. His research on Blenheim carver and furniture maker, William Ah Gee, can be found in the widely acclaimed 'The Lives of Colonial Objects', Otago University Press, 2015. This was cited in the 2019 book 'Crafting Aotearoa, A Cultural History of Making in New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania' edited by Kokokesa Mahina-Tuai, Damian Skinner and Karl Chitham. 

He commissioned and contributed a ground breaking publication about the life and work of Marlborough-born Elizabeth Lissaman, New Zealand's first Studio Potter, (2018). This is available from Marlborough Museum. The publication was substantially supported by the Marlborough Historical Society.

Steve is a founder of the Marlborough Living Cultural Treasure Award, with Toni Gillan; founder of the Marlborough Wine Show Legacy Award with Belinda Jackson and Margaret Cresswell; as well as the founder of the annual Marlborough Heritage Festival.

Steve is currently working on a number of research projects in his precious spare time. The first is on early Chinese settlers in New Zealand, he intially contributed to publications on Appo Hocton after conducting research in Nelson and in China, and then researched other early Chinese settlers for a forthcoming publication on Early Chinese Settlers in New Zealand. He has contributed to a publication on Chinese woman and children who came to New  Zealand after the Japanese invasion in the late 1930s, Farewell Guangdong (2022). His other interests include the life and work of New Zealand photographer Thelma Kent, who was active in the 1930s, and the legacy of Dr Cleghorn of Marlborough.

Steve Austin on

Blair Walker, Marlborough Lines Heritage Education Manager

Blair joined the Heritage Education team in early 2021 after teaching at local primary schools for the previous 16 years and, serving several years as a Teacher Representative on the Marlborough Lines Heritage Education Advisory Committee.

Blair brings with him a passion for making learning fun and engaging for children and, for making things memorable. He believes that hands-on learning experiences with ‘the wow factor’ are key to inspiring lifelong curiosity and learning.

Blair has a strong connection to the Marlborough community and volunteerism is a huge part of his life. He has served 7 years with Fire and Emergency NZ as a qualified fire fighter and he, along with wife Talia, currently live at the Pine Valley Outdoor Centre, giving their time to supporting developments there and ensuring the continuation of the centre.

Blair is passionate about Marlborough and is keen to learn about and share our fascinating heritage and history.

Logan Coote, Regional Collections and Archives Manager

As Marlborough Regional Collections Manager my role is to support the development of collections in Marlborough museums. An important part of my job is liaising with iwi groups about taonga, and assisting with access to collections.

I have a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Otago University which I completed in 2007, specialising in Archaeology. My background includes: Museum volunteering after graduation; Collections Curator at Whakatane Museum; Archaeologist at Pegasus Town; Contract Archaeologist in Kaikoura; extensive background in helping collectors develop significant collections.

I grew up visiting the family farm on D’Urville Island from a young age, and this is how I started learning about geology, archaeology, natural history, and history. My current research interests are related to the French Pass and D’Urville Island districts, the geology of the Nelson/Marlborough Mineral Belt, and understanding particular types of taonga, and stone tools in particular.

I became interested in taonga through my family connections, exploration of pakohe - argillite on D’Urville Island, and learning from going on excursions with Jim Eyles when I was young. My personal interests in this area are the Early East Polynesians exploring and settling NZ, Maori stone working, and first contact interaction between 1769 - 1840. Other specialties include: New Zealand fossils, and the postal history of the Marlborough Sounds. 

Jillian Trayling, Support Manager and Marlborough Museums Registrar

Jillian Trayling joined the Marlborough Museum Team in 2011.  She has been recently appointed by the Marlborough Heritage Trust as their Secretary and the Support Manager for all operations. In addition to these roles she is the Museums Registrar which involves responsibility for the Collections database.  Before joining Marlborough Museum Jillian had a wide range of professional experiences that included legal secretary, office manager, and swimming instructor.

John Orchard, Marlborough Lines Heritage Education Teacher

John has been the Senior Teacher of the Heritage Education Programme for twenty years, following 25 years as a History, Geography, Mathematics and Outdoor Pursuits teacher in Christchurch, Oamaru, and Blenheim.  John was one of the driving forces behind setting up the LEOTC programme in Blenheim in the late 90s, alongside the late John Davies.  He has been the face of the programme since 2000 and has developed the programme to what it is today.  He has an absolute passion for Heritage Education and a strong belief in pupils knowing their local history and local geography. 

He feels privileged to have a job involving many of his interests. These include running field trips for the Marlborough Historical Society and HPT, restoration of historic earth buildings, photographic archives, sea kayaking, archaeology, Marlborough, and military history, and building projects.

John has also been President of the progressive Riverside Railway project since its formation in the mid 80s.

He was awarded a QSM for services to the community, and has also been honoured twice by Marlborough District Council for services to heritage in Marlborough.





Beavertown is a replica street scene based on features of Blenheim around 1900.

"The Beaver", and "Beaver Station" were early names for what is now the town of Blenheim.



Riverlands Cob Cottage


Cob Cottage is the most visited historic building in Marlborough.

It is a good example of how early Marlburians constructed dwellings in a region without a close supply of timber. 


Cob Cottage Booklet (pdf)