Red Tractors Down Under: International Harvester Company of Australia

Red Tractors first made an appearance down under in 1852 and became one of the island-nation's premier brands.

| February 2014

  • The Farmall AM was a row-crop version of the AW-6 sold with standard front and rear axles, radiator shutters, heat control, swinging drawbar, exhaust muffler, 6.0x16 front tires, two front- and rear-wheel weights, and rear tires sized 13.5x32 or 11x38. The tractor sold for $2,556.
    Photo courtesy Sarah Galloway collection
  • Farmall AM-7.
    Photo courtesy R. Devlin collection
  • "Red Tractors 1958-2013" (Octane Press, 2013) is author Lee Klancher's meticulously researched look at the history of International Harvester Company, a landmark American company that defined agricultural business for a century.
    Cover courtesy Octane Press

Red Tractors 1958-2013 (Octane Press, 2013) is an authoritative and unparalleled look at the tractors built by International Harvester Company and Case IH. Author Lee Klancher leads a research team that has collected more than 380 pages and 700 images, documenting these beloved machines built in America and abroad. In this multi-part series, Farm Collector shares the first chapter of Red Tractor, "1958-1959 The Hinsdale Connection". This final excerpt covers the Australian tractors produced by International Harvester Company.

You can purchase this book from the Farm Collector store: Red Tractors 1958-2013.

In 1852 the first McCormick reaper arrived in Australia, 21 years after Cyrus Hall McCormick had demonstrated his reaper to a skeptical gathering at his father’s farm near Steele’s Tavern, Virginia.

Two separate organizations, one selling McCormick and one Deering, formed in Australia in 1884. In 1903, a year after the Deering and McCormick merger that formed International Harvester, International Harvester of America (IHCA) registered for trading in Australia. By 1904 not only was the company selling their own farm implements, engines, and vehicles, but they were also sole agents in Australia for Buffalo Pitts steam engines, Chattanooga reversible disc plows, Cockshutt plows, Deere plows, Oliver plows, Sanders disc plows, and Zealandia milking machines.

IHCA headquarters were established in Melbourne in 1904. All International Harvester goods were sold from this building, as were their agency lines. Many other buildings in and around Melbourne were occupied as the company’s needs expanded into motor-truck assembly, service, spare parts, showrooms, and other aspects of operating a large company.

IHCA assembled most of their imported components into tractors in Spotswood, a small suburb just outside of Melbourne. The company sent these imported implements and tractors from Spotswood all over Australia until Geelong Works was opened in 1939.


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