A family history of rail carriage sleepouts
By Bachchat staff
When Dougal MacKenzie was a teenager growing up in the Broadfield area near Christchurch, he and his brother used to use an old railway wagon as a sleepout. It was already something of a family tradition; his father’s family had employed a railway wagon as a sleepout on their property by the Avon River, opposite Spreydon School.
Dougal and his wife Denise later converted two wagons on a farm they owned. In 1993 the couple converted two more wagons on their property at Palliser Bay, near Wellington. The wagons had been in service as KP wagons, used to cart general freight around New Zealand.
The MacKenzies did the conversion themselves, with some help from a professional builder, who also put in an implement shed for them.
Apart from a sliding door on one side and a large window on the other, where the steel sliding doors used to be, as well as chip board flooring, they are still exactly as they were when they slid off the back of the truck that brought them over from Wellington.
The MacKenzies have tried to keep the wagons simple and value for money, with the added bonus of a few farm animals: Ruby the donkey, Gordon the pig, Fatty the sheep, Beltie the cow, and Jack and Vera the goats. And up at the house there’s Tom the Norwich terrier and Rani the Burmese cat, who also like to welcome the guests.