Category Archives: Farm Machinery

Tractors and Steamrollers

My late father-in-law  had a small farm just out of Kyneton for his spare time.  Mostly it was for sheep and cattle.  So he didn’t have a tractor but he did have what we called a traction engine but which others might call a steam roller.   It had previously been used in the construction of local roads.

I had my driving lessons in that car,

Not all the time was spent playing with the engine though.  Animals need attention.

Farmer NormBut then it was back to the traction engine.  What could be more useful for supplying the home with the unlimited  pile of wood needed for the wood stove, and the wood fires, and the wood copper, and for the fuel to run the steam engine which worked the steamroller.  No petrol needed.  This can be seen in this 1959 home movie clip for those who like fuzzy images of things moving up and down and round and round.

Other people’s engines can be found on this week’s Sepia Saturday



Horses and Wagons

Sepia Saturday this week includes the word TRANSPORT  for which  The Oxford Dictionary says

Take or carry (people or goods) from one place to another by means of a vehicle, aircraft, or ship:

That’s interesting.   Does that mean if you were to deliver a parcel by horseback you are not transporting that parcel.  It needs to be delivered in conjunction with a vehicle, aircraft or ship.

So I  have looked at how my family have used horses for transport with the help of a WAGON.

The first photo is of my grandmother’s uncle, Bullocky Bob, ie Robert Telford  (1871-1940) and his bullock wagon.  He only had one eye as the result of an accident.  You’ll notice his dog trotting along at the back of the wagon.  There is no train line to Apollo Bay so everything came in by boat or bullock wagon.

Robert telford and his bullock team bIt’s a very large wagon and we can’t see what he is carting as it has a cover over it.  He lived at Apollo Bay and until 1930 the Electoral Rolls described him as a grazier.  After that he and his wife were storekeepers at Duverney.

The next photo is probably early to mid 1920s on the Fricke dairy farm, Glen Avon, at Apollo Bay in south-western Victoria.  The wagon is being used for a family outing, perhaps they are heading into town on market day.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIt is not a very clear photo but you can see the back of the house and the pole for holding up the clothes line.  From here the track to the road winds around the back of the house and down the small hill.  This wagon has the front wheels smaller than the back wheels  and I believe this is because the  steering is controlled by the front wheels and these smaller wheels give a smaller turning circle. I think the wagon is being driven by the eldest daughter of the house, my Aunt Enid.

The wagon is also used for bringing in the hay.  Here it is in the paddock at the front of the house and once again you can get a glimpse of  the clothes line with its load of flapping washing.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI think it is my father, Charles Fricke Jr. who is helping with the hay when home for the holidays.  This is possibly mid to late 1920s and the smaller head of the other person sitting on the wagon is possibly his younger brother Alan, born 1920.

Later  there was to be a quite nice garden at the front of the house with bushes sculpted into shapes.

Another photo was taken in the front paddock that day but this time it is facing away from the house and across the valley, with Charles standing up and someone possibly tossing the hay up from the ground.

Apollo Bay Charles Jr bringing in the hay c1925  cI have scans of these events thanks  to kind relatives.

Other suggestions from this week’s  Sepia Saturday image  include  coach rides, old transport, roof-racks, luggage, waiting, animated discussion, clowning, and cab drivers, so there will be plenty of variety waiting in the links on —–





Contraptions on the Farm

Sepia Saturday has asked for a contraption. A contraption is a mechanical device.  That’s a beautiful description of a contraption – mechanical – not a single mention of it being governed by some computerized component.

So here is my contraption, my offer of a rather large mechancial device, which was probably known by the name of a Self-Raking Reaper back in in the 1800s.

OldMachinerySo, what can I tell you.  The photo belongs to a family member and came from someone who was born in 1873 and lived all her life in the Carisbrook area of Central Victoria.  It could have come from her husband’s family, Butler, or her own family, Fricke..

I can date crinolines similar to the one in the photo at least from 1859-1866 in the Carisbrook area.

It’s a horse drawn contraption with the man sitting   behind two horses on what appears to be a sprung seat, holding the reins in his hands.

Man on seatThe workingsThe reaper is behind the driver.  So far the best that I can explain it is that a  cutting edge sticks out low down to the right of the driver positioned so that the material to be cut is pushed against it by the rotating paddles as they  drop down . The cut material  falls onto the platform and the rake pushes regular accumulations to the ground to the left of the driver,  enough at a time to be tied into a sheaf, then several sheaves are stacked together to form a stook.

.Here are some images which bear some resemblance to the above.

Thanks to Flickr we have this John Manny’s Self- Raker and Mower, not exactly the same but viewed from the opposite side we can get a better understanding of how it probably worked. It was available c 1855.

Manny Curved PlatformAnd from  YouTube we can watch a re-enactment of a slightly later Walter Wood reaper

Thanks to Backtracking, her hubby, and their friend Eric for help in deciphering the photo.

And do go to Sepia Saturday for links to more contraptions.