Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Local rally delights

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Hungry boiler
Feeding the hungry boiler to keep a full head of steam. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne.

Visitors and locals were thrilled with the offerings at the Border Flywheelers Club and Heritage Museum 24th Vintage Engine and Machinery Rally.

“You could spend weeks in there,” was a repeated comment from visitors.

Massive collection of historical items
A massive collection of local history is on display. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne,

The shear volume and variety of local history that has been amassed is a credit to everyone involved.

All this, tucked away as a hidden gem in Barham.

Model boat
Model paddle steamer. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne.

The two-day rally exhibited steam engines, diesel engines, tractors, household goods, shearing plants, tools, books, and even the original hot metal printing press that served The Bridge Newspaper for many years.

Range of tractors
A diverse range of tractors and traction engines. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne.

This year saw the inaugural running of a Tractor Trek. A group of tractor enthusiasts set off from the rally around 9:30am travelling through Barham and Koondrook and out to Murrabit, before navigating their way back to the rally exploring some of the area’s minor roads.

Tractor trek over the bridge
Tractors of all reeds trek over the border bridge – not an everyday sight! Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne

The original Ronaldson & Tippet engine that powered the Eagle Creek pump is a sight hard to go past, with the melodic rhythm of the mass of cast iron, effortlessly chugging away.

Ronaldson Tippet engine
The Ronaldson-Tippet single cylinder diesel, former drive unit for the Eagle Creek Irrigation Syndicate. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne.

The diversity of the attractions is astonishing, for example an Audiffren Refrigerating Machine owned by the Boyd family. Invented by Marcel Audiffren, a French priest, physicist, and inventor who promoted the residential refrigerator. He served as Abbot of his Cistercian monastery, and originally designed a hand-cranked device for cooling liquid, such as wine, for his monks.

His designs were first sold in the U.S. in 1903 and were also used by the German Military in WW I.

Audiffren refrigerating machine
Audiffren Refrigerating Machine, from World War 1 – still operational. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne.

The unit operates on a compression system using sulphur dioxide. It consists of two globes joined by a hollow shaft, the extension of the shaft is driven by a pulley or crank handle, depending on the rotary force available. 

With no joints, valves or gauges, the operation is very simple. Fill the condenser and refrigerator tanks with water and apply power, and within a few minutes, you have cold air, cooled water or ice.

Tom Underwood gave free rides in his Willys Jeep. The rough riding work horse carried as many troops as would fit ‘on’ the jeep, not in. Many believe that the Willys Jeep inspired both the entire category of recreational 4WDs and SUVs, making ‘four-wheel drive’ a household term, after it became the first mass-produced civilian four-wheel drive car in 1945.

Tom with Willy Jeep
Tom Underwood and his Willys Jeep. Photo: Lloyd Polkinghorne.

The short wheelbase with little overhang gives the jeep excellent approach angles and with the utilisation of the low range gearbox, the Willys has mountain goat qualities, complemented by a low centre of gravity. 

The show and shine had a good mix of old and new on display, from 1967-68 Ford Mustang Coupes to the present-day 2017 Mustang Fastback, 1961 Mercedes 220SE and 1934 Nash Sedan.

Mustang
A purrfectly timed photo by Margaret Burgges.

Compliments were also directed to the club for its efforts in complying with the time consuming and, at times, onerous COVID-19 government restrictions.

The club is open to new members and there is almost limitless potential to what could happen with the right grants and some passionate members. 

Well done, indeed.

The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper 20 May 2021

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 20 May 2021.

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