Vintage farm machinery always a crowd pleaser at Henty


Ian Ballentine with two freshly restored tractors ready for the vintage display at Henty, an International 686 and A-554.

Australian manufactured farm machinery will take centre stage at the popular vintage display at this year’s Henty Machinery Field Days.

Henty and District Antique Machinery Club president Ian Ballentine said more than 20 rare and historic Australian made pieces, some working, will be on show at the crowd-pulling display.

Working demonstrations will be staged by Kerry Pietsch, of Pleasant Hills, with a vintage seed cleaner, and by Alma Park farmer Max Hogg with his Horwood Bagshaw hay press.

Wagga blacksmith Lance Tucker will have a forge operating to turn out fire pokers and demonstrate the process of retempering crowbars.

Taking pride of place for Mr Ballentine will be two freshly restored International tractors from his private collection at Brocklesby.

His International 686 was originally manufactured in Geelong and sold in 1971 by Paech Bros, Henty.

Bill and Peter Paech hosted the Henty Field Days on their farm, The Ranch, in 1965 and 1966.

“I bought this tractor at a clearing sale at Pleasant Hills more than 10 years ago and it hadn’t done many hours,’’ Mr Ballentine said.

“There are not many around still going, it was straight and I thought I would do it up one day.

“I’ve just finished it this year – it’s an eight speed transmission with a six cylinder motor, 68 PTO horsepower and has done 4500 hours.’’

Ian previously used it to pull a mixer while feeding cattle but now the tractor has a more leisurely life, tucked under a blanket and sheet in the shed.

The 686 was a popular all-round tractor but was superseded by the 696.


Ian Ballentine gives his newly restored McCormick International A-554 a polish for the vintage display at Henty.

Ian’s second tractor, a McCormick International A-554, was the first model tractor he drove to kick off his farming career in 1964 at Hopetoun, Vic.

“It is 55 PTO horsepower and a four cylinder motor – I bought the tractor from Tumbarumba last year and it had been shedded,’’ he said.

“It was just a matter of sandblasting, repainting and a bit of a tidy up.

“I did 5000 hours straight on one of these – they were a great pulling tractor on a header or baler.’’

Ian has a total of nine tractors in his collection and has plans to restore a kerosene-powered Fordson E27 N Major.

He reckons the missing piece is a John Deere 830.

“They are pretty expensive so it’s on the bucket list – I think I might have to get a caravan instead,’’ he said.

“I try to take the old tractors for a run once a month.’’

Mr Ballentine said the vintage display at Henty was a huge volunteer effort by the club’s members each year, transporting machinery and setting up the display.

“Both adults and children love seeing the old machines working and everyone enjoys hearing the Bulldog tractor start up,’’ he said.

“The club is not just about tractors but fellowship and meeting people with a similar interest.’’

The vintage machinery on display will include:

KL Bulldog tractor – Len Schilg

8hp and 10hp Star stationary engine – Len Schilg

International 686 and McCormick International 554 tractors – Ian Ballentine

Ronaldson & Tippett 2hp and 6hp stationary engines – Steve Nesbitt

Massey Ferguson 585 auto header – Eddie Dale

Sprayer – Ross McDonald

Two McDonald stationary engines – Peter Cochrane

International WD6 tractor – Andrew Newton

Champion motor – Col Miller

Power hacksaw – Peter Schields

Horwood Bagshaw hay press – Max Hogg

40KA Chamberlain tractor – Arnold Schultz

Whitlock five furrow plough and GL 25VO International mower – Trevor Terlich

Seed cleaner – Kerry Pietsch

Two small stationary engines – John Warren