Introduction to the opening of the Quambatook Heritage Working Machinery Association Shed
John Parker foreshadowed the idea of a vintage machinery club in mid 2003 at Q.T.P.A. meeting to
- preserve old machinery before it was all lost to scrap dealers
- give this excellent facility (tractor-pulling venue) more use
- he was always wanting to promote the Quambatook district.
John & Norma & Trevor Bennett attended a meeting of the Border Flywheelers in Barham later that year to see how they operated,
- first meetings of a vintage club were held under the banner of the tractor-pull committee
- 20.9.04 first official meeting of the vintage committee, (still hadn’t come up with a name)
- John was elected president, was president until the time of his death.
- He was keen to run a harvest day in January 2005
- He had organized to sow some crop
- ( or at least organized Dick Elliot to sow some crop!)
- John had already started collecting old machines, harvesters headers, a stripper and even a winnower, to add to his collection of vintage tractors.
- He bought old gear at clearing sales all round the country, Dick still has machinery to pick up that John bought a year or two ago.
By December 2004 members convinced John that we couldn’t run a harvest day in 2005
- the crop wasn’t much good (we’re still waiting for a decent crop!)
- we were running out of time
- if you knew John you would know that his ideas and plans for projects would be happening faster than the rest of us could keep up, he was unstoppable, in fact some of us who weren’t quite as enthusiastic as John were prone to run for cover to avoid jobs he thought we might tackle!
In the meantime we came up with a name- the Quambatook Heritage Working Machinery Association.
- after regular meetings in 2005 we organized our first harvest working day on the
Australia Day weekend the 27th & 28th of January 2006.
- Very successful days, although very hot
- At our fist meeting afterwards Tom Pilkington was heard to say that ‘he had had the best day ever with “Bob’ his beloved old Chamberlain and his GL200 header”
John had attracted members from a big area most of whom owned old tractors and machinery of their own and
were also buying items for the club.
- we had accumulated a lot of gear and it really needed to be stored under cover.
- Items are still being offered since John’s death.
- We needed to build a shed
- At first it was suggested to add a skillion to the tractor-pullers shed down near the road, we went off that idea,
- Then in mid 2006 John announced that he had the offer of the finance, from one of his mates, to build a big shed.
- At that stage he couldn’t divulge who the donor was.
As most of you will know, John tragically died in May last year.
Then in September Mr. Don Kerr also sadly died and it was revealed to us that he was the generous donor of the funds to build this magnificent shed.
This weekend represents our third Australia Day harvest working days.
- as well as working machinery, some items of which are quite rare,
we have static displays, vintage cars, trucks, motor cycles and we
run a vintage tractor pull.
John Parker’s vision has lead to what we have today.
Today we want to acknowledge the contribution of these two men- Mr. John Parker and Mr. Don Kerr in their part in preserving machinery which was instrumental in the development of the Mallee in general and this area in particular.
Speech by, Ian Fisher at the Opening of the Shed. 26.01.2008