Vintage tractor collection up for auction

By: Andrew Hobbs

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Over 100 tractors for sale as the collection of a lifetime goes under the hammer



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A private collector will part ways with his collection of over 100 classic and vintage tractors at an auction to be held in Geelong in early April.

The auction will be run by specialist motor auction house Donington Auctions, with director Robbie Richards telling that he had never seen one like it before in Australia.

Focusing on American tractor marques and sourced from within Australia and overseas, the majority of the collection is fully restored and presented in a functioning condition, with Richards saying about 85 per cent of the tractors run.

 "When you walk in here it is like walking into Aladdin’s den. It is just striking the condition and the scope of different model tractors," he says.

Some vehicles never stop running. Click here to check out Ron Horner's review of a 1982 Caterpillar D58 bulldozer still operating today. 


This McCormick Deering Farmall F-20 tractor is dated at about 1938


The collection is the lifetime’s work of one man, a farmer’s son from Drysdale, near Geelong, who worked on the family property in the early 1940s using International Harvester’s Farmall tractors – some of which were manufactured nearby at International Harvester’s factory at North Shore, overlooking Corio Bay.

He left the family business in his early twenties and travelled to the US to study dairy farming and, upon his return, he established Meadow Gold – Australia’s first cottage cheese manufacturing business in Preston, Victoria.

While he later sold the company to pursue land development projects, the love for tractors remained, and he acquired and built the collection of tractors and stationary engines at a large purpose-built warehouse, where the auction will be held.

"The restorations are quite good, some of them were restored here, some he bought in America and he had his own restorer in Indianapolis and then they came onto Australia – so he used trusted people to do the work for him," Richards says.

"I imagine there was some nostalgia there that really kicked off the collection and in later years when he had more disposable income he reunited himself with some of his old toys."


The collection comprises tractors of all sizes, including this 1965 McCormick Farmall IH Cub Lo-Boy tractor


The collection has been seen by only a few people over the years, with Richards saying the collector was a private man who had been reluctant to invite people he did not know.

"I call it a private museum. A lot of people in Geelong have never been here and it was a myth that it even existed," he says.

But, having decided to downsize, the collector is now ready to pass it on to new owners – from the Internationals and other Farmalls – often presented as McCormick Farmalls or McCormick-Deering Farmalls – as well as Allis-Chalmers, Oliver, Case, John Deere, B.F.Avery, Massey-Harris & Massey-Ferguson, Minneapolis-Moline and Chamberlain tractors.

One of the oldest items in the collection is an early Ronaldson Bros and Tippett Pty Ltd ‘Austral’ kerosene stationary engine that was used on the man’s family farm in the 1920s. These engines were built in nearby Ballarat between 1908 and 1928.


Lanz Bulldog
This 1936 Lanz Bulldog is among the items up for sale


Also in the collection is one 1936 and one 1939 Lanz Bulldog tractor, a 1962 Mack B61 Thermodyne truck, a 1919 Moline Model D tractor and a series of crawlers, some configured as bulldozers.

"There are no double ups on any models, really, everything is different," Richards says.

"He was really trying to get a concise collection and an example of each of the main models of each of the producers."

Viewing days will be held on Friday April 5 and Saturday April 6, with the auction to be held on the Sunday at the Geelong warehouse, though it will also be simulcast for bidders on the Donington Auctions website at

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