Grain deliveries to help Carnamah's giant tractor build

By Mal Gill
December 23 2021 - 4:00am
An artist's drawing of how the five times larger than normal replica Chamberlain Model 40K tractor tourist attraction will look. The Vintage Tractor & Machinery Association of WA and a local committee is raising funds to have it built at Carnamah.

FARMERS delivering to the CBH Group bins this season can now donate some of their grain to Carnamah's big tractor project.

Chairman of Carnamah's big tractor project committee and local farmer Brendon Haeusler, said on Friday an account under the name of Carnamah Historical Society had been opened with CBH.

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He said farmers delivering grain to a CBH bin could now use CBH's LoadNet online transaction portal to donate some of their delivered grain to the big tractor project.

"We'll accept any grain at any bin as a donation," Mr Haeusler said.

"All growers need to donate via LoadNet is the account number 40561755.

"Those old Chamberlain tractors towing chaser bins must have moved hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain this harvest so we're asking farmers to donate some of it towards our project."

As previously reported in Farm Weekly, the Carnamah project committee and Vintage Tractor & Machinery Association of WA (Tracmach WA) have been raising funds to have a five times larger than normal replica of a 1949 Chamberlain Model 40K tractor built and displayed in Carnamah.

Gnowangerup tractor, farm machinery and vintage car collector Dick Garnett, who has about 25 Chamberlain tractors in various conditions, has donated the real Model 40K the technical drawings for the big tractor project were taken off, to the project.

Serial number 23 off Chamberlain Industries Ltd's Welshpool production line in 1949, the tractor will be given a cosmetic makeover at Carnamah's Hal Walton Tractor Museum and will eventually be displayed alongside the big replica.

The cost of building a scaled up replica in steel has previously been estimated about $800,000.

Mr Haeusler said funds raised so far were close to $250,000.

"We just missed out on a FRRR (Foundation For Rural & Regional Renewal) grant - we were one of the final two in the running nationally, but we missed out," he said.

"We're applied for a regional economic grant (the big tractor project is expected to boost tourist visits to Carnamah and benefit local accommodation and other associated businesses) and we're waiting on assessment for that.

"(A new funding application round of) Building Better Regions (a Federal government fund supporting regional not-for-profit groups and local government agencies) has just opened so we'll put an application in to that too," Mr Haeusler said.

Tracmach founder Bob Lukins originally came up with the concept about 20 years ago for a big replica Chamberlain tractor as a tourist attraction and to pay homage to WA's former tractor manufacturer.

While there was support for the project, it struggled to find a home until the Carnamah community picked it up earlier this year.

The Model 40K had a twin-cylinder, horizontally-opposed petrol/ kerosene engine of 42 horsepower, a nine speed transmission and weighed about four tonnes.

Designed by tractor mechanic Bob Chamberlain in the late 1930s but put on hold during World War II, it was the first tractor built by Chamberlain Industries and was considered ideal for the needs of Australian farmers.

After the war the WA government encouraged Bob and his brother Bill, who also dabbled in designing and building racing cars and racing boats, to set up a tractor manufacturing factory in Welshpool.

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In 1970 John Deere bought a controlling interest in Chamberlain Industries and the last Chamberlain tractor was produced in 1986.

WA John Deere distributor, AFGRI Equipment Australia, is the major donor so far to the Carnamah big tractor project.

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