During the past year, volunteers from the Rural Heritage Village in Quirindi have contributed many hours of their time to restore a c1914 Sunshine Harvester for Sister City, Blacktown City Council. Upon completion the historic machine will be returned to Blacktown to be displayed. LPSC Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, visited the Heritage Village and inspected the progress on the project with the President Bob McInnes.
“I saw this old machine, in a pretty sorry state, when our friends from Blacktown brought it to Quirindi. The team at the Heritage Village have done a fantastic job on the restoration project and Bob told me there’s a couple of cosmetic things still to complete and the seed box will be refitted.
When completed representatives from Blacktown will come to Quirindi to pick the harvester up and return it to Blacktown. The harvester holds great importance both for its place in the development of secondary industry in Australia and also for the industrial relations aspect of the Harvester case of 1907 which laid the groundwork for the establishment of a minimum liveable wage in Australia,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“This has been a mammoth task and one Village volunteer told me that Bob alone has probably contributed over 250 hours, ably assisted by Geoff Ingall. Parts that were needed for the restoration can no longer be procured, so Scott Taylor in the blacksmith shop set to work along with metal fabricator Ian Saunders to produce them. It really has been an impressive team effort,” he said.
Heritage Village Secretary, Cedric Greyson, said the volunteers were very pleased to undertake the restoration as a way of giving back to Sister City Blacktown who contribute so much to this Shire.
“Unfortunately COVID-19 put a stop to the annual Hangi in the Country which sees a large contingent come from Blacktown City which underwrites the event, but we are hopeful that they will be able to attend the Military Tattoo in March and other events later in 2021,” Councillor Hawkins said.
“Similarly, the Heritage Village has been restricted in its operations, but the volunteers have been hard at work and many improvements have been made to facilities and displays which will enhance the visitor experience when it can fully reopen.
“The outdoor activity of the Miniature Railway is still taking place and they will be operating the trains between 10am and 2pm on Sunday 27 December and Sunday 24 January. It is well worth considering taking the kids for a ride on these dates during the school holidays,” he continued.
“The Sister City relationship between Blacktown City and Liverpool Plains Shire has resulted in many firm friendships being forged and the Harvester project is an example of the cooperation that has evolved through the social and cultural connections that have been established,” Councillor Hawkins concluded.