CARNAMAH'S big tractor committee and shire council are waiting to hear whether the project to build a five times larger than life Chamberlain Model 40K replica has won a $300,000 Federal government grant.
Project committee chairman and local farmer, Brendon Haeusler, said success with a Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) grant application would take funds donated and raised for the project past $540,000.
"We applied for a BBRF grant through the council and we are just waiting to hear whether we got it or not," Mr Haeusler said.
"The successful applicants were supposed to be announced about mid year - which I suppose it still is," he said.
"The announcement could have been delayed because of the change of government (on May 21)."
The $1.38 billion BBRF aims to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities, with funding available for new or expanded infrastructure projects or community development activities outside of capital cities.
It is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communication and The Arts which now answers to seven government ministers or assistant ministers.
Mr Haeusler said the local council had selected a site in the centre of the town where the 11.5 metre high, 16m long and 8.5m wide replica will stand.
The vacant site was big enough to accommodate the big tractor replica, a donated real 1949 Chamberlain Model 40K under cover, information boards about both and the tourist traffic the project is expected to generate, he said.
The real Chamberlain Model 40K, donated by Gnowangerup tractor, farm machinery and vintage car collector Dick Garnett - who is a member of the Chamberlain 9G Tractor Club that fundraises for charities by conducting extended tours with members driving their 9Gs - had arrived at Carnamah's Hal Walton's Tractor Museum where it will be readied for display, Mr Haeusler said.
"We've got the site, we've got the real one, now we just need the money to build the giant replica," he said.
Mr Haeusler said more than $250,000 for the project had been raised so far, but some of that had been spent on preparing government grant applications and on planning.
As previously reported in Farm Weekly, Vintage Tractor & Machinery Association of WA (Tracmach WA) founder Bob Lukins originally came up with the idea of building a giant steel replica tractor as a tourist attraction many years ago.
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Tracmach members have been major supporters of the project, raising funds for it by holding raffles with old tractors as prizes and auctioning donated old tractors to collectors.
Mr Garnett - who has some 25 Chamberlain tractors in various condition in his personal collection and who also donated $10,000 to the big tractor project - and others had originally hoped to build the big replica at Gnowangerup.
But when Gnowangerup did not receive wider support as a proposed location, the project was picked up by the Carnamah committee to complement the town's existing tractor museum created by Mr Walton, its former machinery dealer, which is one of the largest in the country with about 112 tractors dating from 1917 in the collection.
The cost of building the replica out of steel is believed to be more than $800,000.
Designed by Western Australian tractor mechanic Bob Chamberlain in the late 1930s, but put on hold during World War II, the Model 40K was the first tractor built by Chamberlain Industries and was considered ideal for the needs of Australian farmers.
It had a twin-cylinder, horizontally opposed petrol/kerosene engine of 42 horsepower, a nine speed transmission and weighed about four tonnes.
After the war the WA Government encouraged Bob Chamberlain 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.
In 1970 John Deere purchased a controlling interest in Chamberlain Industries and the last Chamberlain tractor was produced in 1986.
WA John Deere distributor AFGRI Equipment Australia is a major donor to the Carnamah big tractor project and John Deere recently donated 400 litres of radiator coolant to Hal Walton's Tractor Museum to enable the coolant in its tractors to be replaced.
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