Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

A slow harvest

Vintage machinery will be used to bring in Dennis Boschetti's crops this season.

GEOFF ADAMS November 21, 2012 4:05am

Dennis Boschetti with his two cylinder John Deere and Sunshine Harvester.


Dennis Boschetti is preparing for an unusual harvest on his Tallygaroopna farmlet.

Dennis and his friends will use harvest equipment up to 100 years old to bring in a modest crop of wheat and oats.

It will be the first time in perhaps decades that an ancient Sunshine harvester will be back in the paddocks of the Goulburn Valley. Dennis has more than 20 vintage farm machines, including a number of John Deere tractors, so he decided he would get some of them working for this year’s harvest and invite other members of the Goulburn Valley Vintage Tractor and Farm Machinery Club to make a day of it.

Dennis found the Sunshine machine in a Toolamba shed, and after hours of restoration work, is looking forward to putting it to work for the first time since its restoration.

The stripper harvester, first designed by Hugh Victor McKay in 1884-85, revolutionised harvesting because it was not only able to strip wheat, it was also able to separate the grain from the chaff.

H.V. McKay was born in 1865, and grew up on a farm at Drummartin near Elmore.

At the age of 18 he developed the Sunshine stripper harvester, a machine which revolutionised farming.

At its peak the Sunshine Harvester Works in Sunshine, Melbourne employed 3000 workers, covered 30.7ha and was the largest manufacturing plant in Australia.

Dennis, a fitter and turner, has been collecting farm machinery for about 30 years and has a particular liking for John Deere tractors.

‘‘They just grow on you. The two cylinders have a particular sound.’’

Dennis also has a John Deere baler from about 1945 which used wire instead of twine, a Sunshine reaper and binder and a friend is expected to take a Nicholson and Morrow harvester.

A date has not been set for harvest, but anyone wanting to go along to the harvest should contact Dennis or Robyn on 58298542.

A video of Dennis and his machine is on the Country News website.

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