An old steamer drives the sawmill

An old steamer drives the sawmill in a demonstration at the Threshermen's Reunion at Austin.

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Box 864, Winkler, Manitoba, Canada

The annual Threshermen's Reunion at Austin enjoyed its best year when it completed its four-day run last week with an estimated 14,000 people coming to see it this time. This was the eleventh year for the event at which people come to see Manitoba's display of machinery and household articles from early times in the province. Many of the machines permanently in store at Austin date back to life in the 1800's.

This year's Re-union had several new attractions to add to the general historical displays and events. For the first time a rodeo and gymkhana were held with calf roping and steer riding competitions held before the new grandstand seating 1,200 people.

The rodeo was run during the first two days of the Re-union with midway attractions being set up for the final two days. In addition there were numerous events putting older machinery through its paces, including threshing competitions, sawmill operation and ramp climbing. A daily parade of display units at the Austin museum was held.

In the eight years since the Austin Agricultural Museum was first set up over 450 household articles have been submitted to it and these were out for viewing during the Threshermen's Re-union last week. More of these historic items such as old handlooms and butter makers are continually arriving at the museum, according to its curator, 82-year-old Lloyd Tennis.

One of the more recent arrivals, a special satiny apron said to be over 100 years old and which was brought over from the Orkney Islands by a Manitoba settler. It was submitted to the museum by a Lyle ton woman.

Very often it is up to Mr. Tennis to establish and identify some of the articles that are brought in, a task that would baffle the average person. Mr. Tennis, however, calls on a lot of experience to identify items along with a good knowledge of history and what was used in the 'good old days.'

He will often refer to older books for articles that had their origin in European countries. One he mentions is the Chambers encyclopedia which was published in Britain.

Among recent machinery at the Austin museum which is growing steadily are three steamers, a Rumley and two Nichols-Shepard models, six gas engines and a 1922 binder.