A town in Victoria’s wheat belt is celebrating its history of agricultural machinery manufacturing.
The town of Warracknabeal turns 150 this year, and the historical society has gathered wagons, tractors and other machinery from the town’s founding to today.
The invention of the tractor was a game-changer in agriculture, and innovation and invention are what keep the industry going.
Warracknabeal Historical Society secretary Leslie Steffen said the first blacksmiths to come to the town were the beginning of a long line of manufacturers to make their mark.
“The blacksmiths were really the foundation for a lot of the manufacturing that happened here,” she said.
“Because the blacksmiths then turned to making ploughs and other machinery that the farmers needed to grow crops, basically to start the wheat industry in Australia.”
The Wheatlands Warracknabeal Agricultural Machinery Museum re-opened its newly refurbished museum at the weekend to coincide with the annual Easter Vintage Machinery Rally.
Outside, the museum is surrounded by vast amounts of space displaying old wagons, tractors, harvesters and more.
Ms Steffen said it was a draw card for all kinds of tourists.
“I’m really not into machinery, but you’ve got to admit it’s a pretty amazing collection,” she said.
Innovation in firefighting
All sorts of agricultural tools were invented in the town, including a vital tool used in fighting fires.
Ms Steffen said an important firefighting tool was invented in Warracknabeal, a water pump called the Aussie pump.
“This Aussie pump was used by the CFA and right throughout Victoria. It was put on to a lot of fire engines many years ago,” she said.
“It was very popular because it was very good at pumping a large amount of water.”
Ms Steffen said Warracknabeal had an entrepreneurial spirit.
“It’s certainly not boasted about, but I guess there is,” she said.
Fordson tractors over a century
As well as Warracknabeal-made machinery, there is also a display of Fordson tractors.
Gordon Mills runs the Warracknabeal Machinery Show, and said the organisation wanted to celebrate 100 years of the tractors.
“Starting from one of the earliest models they ever made and right up until the 60s or 70s,” he said.
“The Fordson tractor was one of the cheapest tractors that farmers could buy at the time, and most of them were reliable.”
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