Museum project to speak up for historic farm machinery

HARD WORK: Museum of the Riverina manager Luke Grealy gets a feel of a piece of farming equipment at the Willans Hill site. Picture: Les SmithTHE rusty old farm equipment laying abandoned in paddocks across the Riverina often doesn’t get a second glance.

The disintegrating disc ploughs, headers, seeders and harrowers – some more than 100 years old – have had their day.

But in the early 20th century these pioneers played a heroic role in lifting Australia to be one of the world’s great agricultural nations.

Now, their contribution is about to be recognised and celebrated through a project in which Wagga and district museums will play a leading role.

The project, titled Talking Machines: Reviving Riverina rural technologies with video testimonies, will involve a film maker recording the “stories” of farm equipment held in the collections of district museums.

Wagga City Council, working with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (formerly the Powerhouse Museum), will receive a $150,000 grant from Arts NSW to manage the assignment through regional museum officer Rachael Vincent.

“Farm machinery is a big part of our heritage and culture in the Riverina,” said Museum of the Riverina manager Luke Grealy.

“People have been collecting the objects, but the missing part is the story.”

Mr Grealy said the film maker would record 40 video testimonies, which will be posted online and also be available to school students.

Up to 80 people in the district have been trained for the project.

The other Riverina museums involved in the project are West Wyalong, Up-to-Date store at Coolamon, Cootamundra Heritage Centre, Greens Gunyah at Lockhart, Temora Rural Museum, Pioneer Women’s Hut at Tumbarumba, Tumut Museum, Batlow Museum, Whistlestop Museum at Weethalle and the Junee Broadway Museum.

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