Rare self-propelled 585 to take centre stage in display

Eddie Dale with the self-propelled 585 Sunshine Massey Harris header once used for harvesting mustard seed.

A rare Sunshine Massey-Harris Auto Header will take centre stage at the vintage machinery display this year at Henty.

The self-propelled 585 header was donated to Ed’s Old Farm Machinery Museum in Henty in 2016 by Wilf and Norm Banham, of Winchelsea, Vic.

The 585 was originally bought new for over 5000 pounds in 1957 by the Banhams.

The family was the biggest mustard growers in the southern hemisphere, supplying on contract to Reckitt & Colman, who processed the seed into Keens table mustard.

The header was also used to harvest oats, wheat, barley, linseed and ryegrass.

“The 585 made a great sample of the grain – it was a good machine for its time and Headlie Taylor was about to design a pick-up front for it but sadly passed away before doing so,’’ Norm said.

It is powered by a six cylinder 54hp Austin BMC Newage petrol motor, and had a three forward and one reverse speed gearbox driven by a 15-speed variator.

The header has a 12-foot (3.6m) comb front and a 45 bushell (15 bag) grain box with a Hannaford type scour screen.

Norm said the header was used for 50 years on his farm and was believed to be the only working model of its type left in Australia.

“These headers were only marketed for a year or so before Massey Ferguson took over and modified the 585, and replaced the Austin engine with Chryslers.’’

The 585 takes pride of place among the collection belonging to Eddie and Kay Dale, fronting the Olympic Way in Henty.

Mr Dale said the 585 would be working at the Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club’s display at the field days.

Aside from the horse-drawn and PTO Sunshine headers, the Dale’s private collection includes seed drills, mouldboard ploughs, hay rakes, harrows, stick rake, disc plough, binders, mowers, seed cleaners, scarifiers and stationery engines.

The museum was kicked off 20 years ago by Eddie and Kay to promote Henty as “Home of the Header’’ with a No. 6 Sunshine header next to their takeaway business.

Local farmer Cyril Lieschke donated a horse-drawn single furrow plough in 2012 as the first piece for Eddie’s vision of an open-air museum on a vacant corner block in Henty.

“A week later we had an instant museum with 11 pieces donated by Cyril – all saved from the scrap heap,’’ Mr Dale said.

“A Sunshine No. 2 header and 1910 Sunshine harvester in working condition came from the Kotzur family, of Alma Park.’’

They were joined by a 1930 Sunshine No. 2 header and Sunshine No. 6 header.

Mr Dale said assistance was needed to help protect the rare headers from the weather by erecting portable covers.

Henty Machinery Field Days chairman Ross Edwards donated Gregory wheat for planting in front of each header in the display.

“The wheat will be a real talking point by November as it will be comb-high in front of the headers,’’ Mr Dale said.

His interest in farm machinery was piqued by his involvement with supplying food and drinks to the volunteers and workers at field day time.

Eddie is now an enthusiastic tractor trekker, regularly attends heritage machinery festivals around Australia and has plans to build a blacksmith’s shop at his museum.