The Age 1966
NECESSITY was certainly the mother of invention to Australian farmers in the 19th century, and some quite remarkable agricultural machines were the result. The stump-Jump plough, the stripper, the header-harvester and tlie shearing machine are basically Australian - inventions, and they have had a great influence on farming throughout the world. Until the 1870's farming methods In Australia were mostly behind those of Great Britain. Wheat was OafiMtiQi F'S right opposite' Ringwood's . Town Hall, right in front of the railway station Cheshire's large, open, splendidly fitted, attractively designed NEW bookshop, opened yesterday and offering on a busy suburban thoroughfare the same kind of variety and service which Cheshire's have been giving for the last forty-one years to shoppers in the city. Not every book stocked in our city shops will fit on the shelves and counters, large though they are, at the Ringwood outpost, but every book that can. be bought anywhere will, if not available Immediately, be swiftly and efficiently obtained. Thus 'we shall set out to prove that the new bookshop can satisfy the existing book needs and stimulate the intellectual desires, of a large suburban community. ' ' AND so to Father's Day For raiMnni Tiftris? ThA Scream of the Reel ($5.25, 526, 13c) andor Horses and Horse men ($5.25, 528, 13c), Jack Pollard's collections of 'the best Australian fact and fiction in these fields in prose, verse and line and half-tone Illustrations; and the re-print of Alan Marshall's classic . account of his travels In northern Australia, These Were My tribesmen ($4.75, 476, 10c) , first published as Our selves writ strange;: ,; y ' For erudite Dads: The Oxford Dictionary of Enrllsh Etvmolorv ($10.90, 59-, . 58c),. edited by K. i. unions, trie most complete and reliable of its kind over nub- lished in English 24,000. main entries, SS'iOOO words; The Letters of Mozart and His Family (2 vols. ' 23.50. 1115-, 68c) , a- new . (second) edition of the Emily Anderson . translation Including seven letters discovered since the first edition In 1938. 'For air of" li'si "Peter Brett's The Beamish Case (75o, 76, 4c),' the pamphlet who-dun-lt currently stirring- Western Australia Where Beamish, a real man con-Meted for a real murder, Is imprisoned for what appears to have E?en a miscarriage of Justice; Claude Brown's Manchlld In the Promised Land ($5.15, 516, 22c), a negro autobiography, tough, ad' and utterly engrossing. S Elizabeth Wni Rnlomn( . 338 LITTLE COLLINS STR EET. Inventive sown by hand, sheep were shorn with hand blades after being individually washed, and all crops had to be separately winnowed after harvesting. As a result, huge areas of territory could not" be effectively farmed, and workers in primary industry had a gruelling 'time. .. ... But the hard conditions also served as an incentive to invention, so that Australia's contribution to the development of agricultural machinery was impressive by any standards. . In the early years of settlement cereal crops were cut with sickle or scythe. The "rake and cradle'.' scythe was regarded as particularly advanced for it enabled the crop to be laid neatly in rows for tying into sheaves by hand. The first mechanical reaper was an English invention that ' never reached Australia. Then. Cyrus McCormack, an American, improved the model considerably, but the crop still had to be raked Into heaps and tied into sheaves by hand. McCormack Incorporated many improvements during the next 40 years, usually buying them from other inventors. In 1872 he brought out the first reaper-and-binder, which delivered bound sheaves In one operation. He became a multi-millionaire as his machines spread all over the world. But such a machine was by no means perfect for countries growing . millions of acres, , especially under , dry conditions likely to cause a loss of grain from the ears. ' Ideally only the actual grain should be harvested. ' The story of the invention of the "stripper" is a very complicated one, not fully unravelled because conflicting claims were made when patent rights were dis- . puted. To . a South Australia farmer, John Bull, must go the credit for the original idea, but it was John Ridley, an Adelaide miller, who built the first model the "locomotive thresher" as he called It. ' . - .In 1843 a really efficient laborer might mow an acre in a long day. One hot summer's day Bull's reapers refused to move from the "grog-shop," and next day he showed them that the wheat was already over-ripe by -gathering some standing heads between his forked fingers and striking them with his other hand. All the grain flew . out, and a great Idea Was born. , , Ridley possibly heard of the rough plans of Bull, and in a short -space of time built a practical stripper. This machine caught the heads of the wheat between long steel prongs, threshed, them with BUDDHIST SOCIETY OF VICTORIA. BUDDHISM IN A , MODERN WORLD , I Meetings every Thursday at 8 p.m. 18'GeorjK Pile.. City, off 11B Collins St, BOOK 'AND ART FAIR Sept. l. 2 to a p.m.i Septw 2b 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. ; .. Sept. 3, S.30 a.m. to 1.80 p.m. " Frankston Mechanics HalL BARGAINS IN BOOKS. ; Best Sellers. Collector's Items, Technical Works. AND FHINT8. PAINTINGS. SKETCHES. RECORDS. SHF.ET MUSIC. INDIAN HANDICRAFTS. Proceeds to, , COMMUNITY AID ABROAD farm ers swiftly revolving beaters, and shot the grain, chaff and debris Into a long tin. Thus the old techniques of harvesting were short-circuited. The stalks were left standing in the paddock, and the winnowing was done by a hand-driven-machine on the wheat-field. Ridley began to manufacture his strippers hr Adelaide -Just in time, for the gold rushes were soon to cause an acute shortage of farm workers. But a stripper cduld work efficiently only if the crop was of even height, and not flattened by wind or hail. So James Morrow, of Victoria, produced the first successful "header" in 1872. This machine cut off as much of the stalk as was needed to get a maximum return from' the crop, and could be ad-Justed to suit various conditions. Winnowing continued an Irksome and expensive business. A number of Australians tried their hands atjnaking a "combine" - that would deliver clean grain on the field itself. It was Hugh Victor McKay, the 19-year-old son of a Scottish migrant, who built the first "combine" in the log-and-bark smithy on his father's selection at Raywood, Victoria. He used parts of discarded farm 'machines, pieces of fencing wire, and old kerosene tins with wonderful results. Treated at first as a Joke by other farmers, McKay's machine showed that wheat and other grain crops could be stripped, threshed, winnowed and bagged in one con- ! :. tinuous operation. The cost of harvesting was reduced from 12 to . 4d. a bushel, and the "combines" built at Ballarat and the Sunshine works near Melbourne saved the . Australian wheat industry from , possible extinction in face of competition from Canada, Russia and tlie Argentine. The stump-Jump plough was the Invention of Richard Smith, of South Australia, In the early 1870's. This plough solved the problem ' of damage to plough-shares and mould boards caused by striking hidden stumps and stones. It made it possible to use the Mallee as a wheat-growing area without the .huge expense of grubbing out all r the countless tough mallee roots. The Vixen plough, exhibited by Smith in June, 1876, had three stump-Jump mould boards. Without this invention the Mallee lands might never have been tilled, yet Smith's life was one of bitter disappointment, for he could not establish patent rights, and died a poor man. The disc plough was an American invention, but H. -V. McKay first marketed a stump-Jump disc machine In 1907. : Although others had Datented ideas for sheep-shearing machines before him, the Australian Frederick Wolseley was the most notable pioneer. He bought Euroka Station, near Walgett, NSW, getting his first patent In 1887.. The great, test came eight years later in a historic demonstration in Melbourne. Dave Brown's hand blades finished first by a' few seconds, but Hassan All, Wolseley's Afghan Machine shearer, went over Brown's sheep again and took off a further 12 oz. of wool. . It is true that machine shearing was delayed until the coming of . internal combustion engines and electric motors, but Wolseley's invention was another triumph for the - practical genius of . working Australian farmers.