Farmers share personal stories in Bags to Bulk


West Wyalong farmer Malcolm Manglesdorf stars in Bags to Bulk and demonstrating bag sewing at the Henty Machinery Field Days

A tribute to the momentous shift in the grains industry from bagged wheat to bulk handling has been portrayed in the latest historical documentary from West Wyalong Movies.

Written by Riverina journalist Kim Woods, Bags to Bulk runs for 1 hour 40 minutes and was produced by Ross Harmer, West Wyalong Movies, drawing on archival footage and interviews with NSW grain growers.

The documentary’s launch at the Henty Machinery Field Days on September 18 was complemented by wheat bag ramming and sewing by Malcolm Manglesdorf, West Wyalong, and a demonstration of loading bags onto an old Bedford truck using a G-Well bag loader.

In launching Bags to Bulk, media personality Kylie King said the DVD was a step back through memory lane.

Ms King said it drew on old black and white footage retrieved from the Prime 7 studios at Wagga.

“It traces the life of farmers who went through the era of bag sewing, lifting bags onto the backs of trucks, and taking them to silos or sheds,” she said.

“It uses interviews with farmers, sharing stories of the days when they were stripping 1000 bags of oats in a particular year and putting them into storage.

“The DVD also looks at the differences between states and the introduction of a silo system, and going into bulk handling.

“One of the inventions of the time making such a big difference was the G-Well loader.”

Canowindra general carrier Cliff Bowd, the inventor of the G-Well loader, was represented at the launch by his grandson Rod Bowd.

Originally known as the Bowd Loader, it was invented in 1938 and the patent was sold to Lachlan Steel in Cowra before being on-sold to G-Well, Sydney.

Rob described his grandfather as a tinkerer and the proud owner of the first motor lorry in Canowindra.

“In 1936 he made a model frame out of wire for the G-Well bag kicker and took to an old mate with an oxy set to weld it up,” Rod said.

“As far as the hydraulics go, the second hydraulic cylinder ever made was designed by Cliff in 1936 and is similar to the one known now as the G-Well hydraulic cylinder.

“Many thousands of the G-Well bag loader were made and they became popular all over NSW into Victoria and even seen in Western Australia.

“They became one of the most popular bagged wheat loaders ever made and were used from 1936 until augers were introduced for bulk handling wheat in the early 1960s.

“They were not only for bagged wheat but also used for wool bales, and people still use that to load wool on trucks from little shearing sheds in the back blocks.”