One of the world’s most celebrated John Deere tractors, the 100 year-old Waterloo Boy, will make a special appearance at this year’s Henty Machinery Field Days.
To mark the centenary of the manufacture of the original John Deere tractor, the steel-wheeled Waterloo Boy will be displayed at the field days on September 18-20 courtesy of owner, John Kirkpatrick, and Hutcheon and Pearce.
Mr Kirkpatrick, a woolgrower from Lake Goldsmith, near Ballarat, is passionate about his John Deere farm machinery and his vintage tractor collection.
The “R” Waterloo Boy came off the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company’s manufacturing line in Waterloo, Iowa, and railed from the factory on April 2, 1918, destined for a working life in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Mr Kirkpatrick said the tractor was later restored in the US and formed part of a major John Deere collection.
He bought the tractor five years ago after locating it on the internet.
John describes himself as a “colour blind’’ collector of rare pre-1925 model steel-wheel tractors.
“I’m a second generation collector of tractors, steam engines, internal combustion engines,’’ he said.
Aside from the Waterloo Boy, John has a Melbourne-made 1912 McDonald Imperial, 1916 International Mogul, a 25hp 1912 International Titan and a US made 1920 Baylor.
He also has the first Ronaldson & Tippett tractor to be sold off the assembly line at Ballarat in 1925.
John’s father founded the Lake Goldsmith steam rally and John continues to support the annual rally by displaying his diverse collection each May and November.
“My father started collecting steam engines in the late 1950s and I still have the first one he collected,’’ he said.
More than a dozen of Mr Kirkpatrick’s tractors and trucks are permanently housed at the Lake Goldsmith steam rally site.
He said two Waterloo Boys were originally imported new into Western Australia in 1918 and a handful imported by collectors in later years.
Mr Kirkpatrick describes driving the tractor as “slow’’.
Rated at 12hp at the drawbar and 25hp on the belt, the Waterloo Boy pulled at a steady 2.25 miles per hour, had a turning radius of 12 feet and weight of 5900 lbs.
“It is a 2 cylinder, single forward and single reverse gear, has a crank start, chain steering and steel wheels,’’ Mr Kirkpatrick said.
“I don’t drive it often as I want to keep it immaculate – people simply say wow when they see it.
The Waterloo Boy was on show at the steam rally in March to coincide with the 100-year John Deere celebration.
The John Deere collection doesn’t stop with the Waterloo Boy – Mr Kirkpatrick also has a 1929 John Deere GP on steel wheels, 1934 John Deere Model A, and a 1961 single cylinder John Deere Lanz.
Away from the collection, he drives a John Deere 6430 tractor for on-farm work.
“I never had any trouble selling all our second hand John Deere machinery and headers due to the resale value,’’ he said.
“A John Deere will always maintains its value as a collectible over any other make – if you are going to specialise in collecting anything, make it John Deere.’’