Croppa Creek vintage harvesting demonstration is on again

The Croppa Creek community has been transported to another time this week as a number of classic old machinery took to the field to strip a wheat crop for the annual vintage harvesting demonstration.

A few hundred people from the Croppa Creek district and surrounds are expected to attend the Croppa Creek vintage harvesting demonstration over the three days of harvest – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (December 4 to 6).

About 70 people watched on on Tuesday as three vintage headers harvested about a 15 hectare section of the Forsyth’s wheat crop in the Bencubbin block alongside the 'mad mile' into Croppa Creek.

Included in the crowd were residents from Fairview Retirement Village Moree, Kaloma Home for the Aged Goondiwindi, and Naroo Aged Hostel Warialda, who loved taking a step back in time.

Memories flooded back for many of the residents, who remembered childhoods spent emptying grain bags or days spent sitting on headers just like these in the hot sun.

“They were all tickled pink,” organiser Lawrie Timmins said.

On Wednesday, a number of school groups from around the district attended the demonstration for a real-life, up-close-and-personal history lesson.

Members of Moree Vintage Car Club also attended the demonstration.

Among the vintage harvesters, all restored by Mr Timmins, was a 1940s Sunshine #6 ground drive 8 foot sidecut header harvester towed by a 1950s John Deere 830 tractor, a 1940s to 1950s Sunshine #4 PTO model 12ft sidecut towed by a 1950s Chamberlain Countryman tractor, and a 1950s to 1960s Allis Chalmers All Crop 5ft cut of a draper belt style towed by a 1960s Fiat 513R.

A late 1950s Cockshutt 428 auto harvester was also set to be part of the demonstration, but during the test-run it broke a belt and couldn’t run, so it was part of a static display.

Mr Timmins said the biggest difference between these old headers and today’s modernised ones is the time it takes to strip a crop.

“What they could do in a day with these machines, they do in an hour now with the new ones,” he said.

“It’s a pretty long drawn-out process, although the principles of the machine are exactly the same. They haven’t put one new idea into the machine at all.”

Interestingly, Mr Timmins said a number of the young farmers noticed how good the grain sample was from the old machines compared to what the new ones produce.

“The old headers have a chook wheat box, and it separates the grading before it goes into the bin, so the pure grain goes off to the silo,” he said.

This is the third year the Croppa Creek vintage harvesting demonstration has been held and it’s now become a permanent fixture on the village’s social calendar.

The event started after Mr Timmins bought an old header at a clearing sale and thought it was too good to sit around and not do anything with.

“I did a little bit of work to it and thought I may as well put her in a crop and give her a go,” he said.

“It’s something a bit different.”

Anyone is welcome to go along and watch the demonstration for its final day on Thursday, which will begin around 10am.