What’s Up Down Under

Ferguson tractors star in New Zealand show.

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by Don Mackereth
The Franklin Vintage Farm Machinery Club’s display at the Pukekohe Agricultural and Pastoral show drew a good representation of International Harvester tractors and a Massey-Harris Pony.

The spread of COVID-19 into New Zealand brought all our vintage tractor club activities to a standstill. In fact, New Zealand was under lockdown with all meetings and events totally closed for more than a month. Collectors have not even been allowed to visit other club members’ sheds for the fear of spreading the disease.

Fortunately, before the virus reached New Zealand, our club – the Franklin Vintage Farm Machinery Club – had a good showing for two days at the annual Pukekohe Agricultural and Pastoral in Auckland Feb. 15-16, 2020.

We had a great gathering of about 12 grey Ferguson tractors, some with the genuine Ferguson implements attached. The oldest tractor in the Ferguson line-up was a Ford Ferguson 9N of 1947 vintage, one of the last to be produced as production stopped in June of that year, while the others, affectionally known as the “little Grey Fergies,” ranged from 1950 to 1956, both petrol- and diesel-powered. The diesel-powered Little Grey Fergies were quite rare in New Zealand, with farmers being more confident in the petrol engines they were most accustomed to.

Of the implements in the Ferguson showing, there were single- and double- furrow ploughs, single- and double-disc ploughs, transport trays and a rear-mounted Ferguson earth scoop.

It must be noted that the “Little Grey Fergie” was the mainstay of farm tractors and their accompanying implements in New Zealand in the post-war years of the 1940s and early ’50s.

There were between 40 and 50 other “breeds” of tractors on display at the show, with a lot of Internationals, ranging from the little Farmall Cubs and including two Farmall Bs, up to and including International tractors from the British stables, such as International B250s, B275 and 414s accompanied by the large broad-acre Internationals of U.S.A. heritage.

English Fords also featured well, with Fordson Majors dating to the early 1950s and little Fordson Dextas dating from the late 1950s and early 1960s, to the more modern Ford 1000 Series. John Deere made a showing with a JD 4040 among others in the line-up.

Joining the Farmall Cubs were a couple of little Massey-Harris Ponies that would have started their service lives in New Zealand on either small dairy farm units or in small market gardens.

The club also had a demonstration of stationary hay baling, which is always a drawing card for the passing public, running throughout the two days of the show. FC


Don Mackereth is a semi-retired senior lecturer in heavy automotive engineering at Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. He is an enthusiastic restorer/collector of farm tractors and owns a small farm in Northland, New Zealand. He is a member of the Franklin Vintage Farm Machinery Club in Pukekohe, New Zealand.  Email him  at mackereth@actrix.co.nz.

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