Henty antique farm machinery club celebrates 40 years

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The Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary at this year’s Henty Machinery Field Days on September 19-21.


Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club members
Members of the Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club

The club’s founding members were Max Hogg, Kerry Pietsch and Kevin Terlich, all farmers from Pleasant Hills, 25km west of Henty in New South Wales. The trio were vintage machinery enthusiasts who gathered a few tractors and implements for a working display at the field days in 1977.

The display was such a success they formed the Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club.

Although Kevin has passed away, Max and Kerry have continued to help stage the display each year, drawing on themes featuring headers, tractors, ploughs, mowers, stationery engines, reapers, water carts, tools and pumps dating from the late 19th century.

Club members from throughout the region volunteer their time to prepare and transport machinery, and man the site over the field days to entertain, inform and educate the public.

To mark the milestone, Max, Kerry and club president Trevor Terlich will cut an anniversary cake at The Stump on Thursday, September 21 at 10.30am.

Trevor says the first display in 1977 comprised a working field day of vintage tractors and implements at the present site of the field days dam.

Kerry demonstrated a Gibbins disc plough and Whitlock plough behind his crawler tractor, delighting the large crowd.

"They thought while the older machinery is still around and virtually going for nothing, why not put it to better use," Trevor says. "At the time, most people were disregarding all this machinery and they felt the past was past.

"Kerry started with a twin-cylinder crawler tractor found on the Walla swamp. He had to recondition the whole tractor to bring it to its former glory, creating his passion for vintage machinery.

"Max began his collection with a Massey Harris Cletrac crawler tractor and bought a Lanz Bulldog from the side of the road at Walbundrie.

"Our family’s Lanz Bulldog was purchased by my father Kevin from Walla," Trevor adds. "It was completely reconditioned and was part of the first display at Henty."

Trevor bogged the Lanz Bulldog during the ploughing competition in 1977, prompting many ideas on how to extricate it.

 "We put pieces of wood under the grippers but the tractor spat the pieces of timber out the back," he says. "It was certainly one of the humorous times we had at the Henty field days."

Among the bigger displays staged over the years was the 100 years of International Harvester, along with themes encompassing Caterpillar and Chamberlain, with items drawn from around Australia.

This year’s theme celebrates Massey-Harris, Massey Ferguson, Ferguson and Sunshine.

"Arnold Schulz will have a rare Massey-Harris reaper as a working display with an electric motor driving it, and sheaf hay put through it," Trevor says. "Originally, string was not used to bind the sheaves but straw from the paddock."

He says the display takes considerable working time to co-ordinate as machines have to be restored or prepared.

"Sourcing these machines and tractors is not quite as easy as in the past," Trevor says. "The whole display is voluntary and the field days donates the site to the club each year.

"It is important to keep our farming cultural heritage in front of people as we need to keep these machines seen by the younger generation, and show them how technology has moved through the years.

"Otherwise it will be lost – if we don’t attract the younger generation there will be no one left alive who knows how to operate these machines.

"For the farming community, our heritage really needs to be preserved from grandfather to grandson. While we are able, we just love showing these machines."

During his own lifetime, Trevor has witnessed the machinery display at Henty move from working sickle mowers in 1964 to this year’s first driverless or autonomous tractor.

"The first tractor I drove was a W6 but these days I have a New Holland T6030," he says. "If I didn’t make the move at the time with a newer tractor I would have lost touch with the new outside world."



Tuesday 19 to Thursday 21 September 2017


8am-5pm daily


Cookardinia Road just off the Olympic Highway, midway between Wagga and Albury, NSW


Adults (16+) $22; children (12-16) $5; Under 12 – free admission.

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