Rusty Iron Rally: keeping the legend alive

MEN who collect old tractors need an understanding wife.
Nanjing Night Net

Just as well then that Valla’s Anne Pade let’s husband Brian indulge his passion.

“It’s important that we preserve the old tractors because otherwise they will become lost to modern memory. They tell the story of Australian agriculture,” Brian said.

While his tractor of choice is the iconic Grey Fergie, Brian will display a 1944 Massey Harris 102 Junior at this weekend’s Rusty Iron Rally at Macksville.

It’s a heavy steel-wheeled beast and like most of the other tractors in Brian’s shed, it’s been a labour of love.

The petrol-powered tractor was originally run locally, doing farmwork and working with the sawmill to draw logs. It was owned by Les (Peter) Donnelly of Warrell Creek before it was traded in for a car at Morrison’s Garage at Macksville.

Alex Morrison and his family used the tractor for a while, then it stood for 40 years beneath their garage and the back of the mechanic’s workshop.

Brian got his hands on it 10 years ago – and while it looked like a rusted hulk the engine and gear box were in pretty good nick.

The hard work was getting the metal srubbed up for painting.

Brian, who runs a cattle property, has restored around 15 tractors and the process can be as painstaking as it is rewarding.

If parts are needed, it’s off to swap meets, wreckers and scanning machinery magazines. If that fails, “you just have to try and manufacture the part yourself,” Brian said.

But the result can be stunning – and the shiny red grunter that Brian will take to Macksville is evidence of that.

The Massey Harris will take part in the grand parade and also form a static display at the annual showcase of the Mid North Coast Machinery Restoration Club.

And if you’re up for a yarn, club member Brian will be only too happy to explain the ins and outs of tractor restoration.

Brian Pade

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.