Our Open day on ANZAC Day, Wednesday, 25th April, will be behind us when you read this. We are of course looking forward to a successful day, with plenty of traditional home made ANZAC biscuits consumed. As I write this, repairs to our McDonald diesel roller have been completed successfully, and the old girl is back in operation after 10 months of layup. It will be started on the day.
Netherby Homestead will be closed for some time after ANZAC Day to enable the pressed metal ceilings to be replaced. The old steel ceilings have suffered the ravages of time and have rusted through in places and become unsightly. Council has organised period patterned replacements, in aluminium, which should have a long service life, not that 117 years was too bad for the old ones. It will be quite a disruption, with all the contents having to be moved to storage.
One of our displays that has not been demonstrated for a number of years is the horse-works driven chaff cutter. Having no horse, we use a self-steering small Kubota tractor it its place. For the chaff cutter, we need a supply of oaten hay, so we have just ploughed a small plot of ground to sow some oats, which we will later cut and store for demonstrating chaff cutting (rabbits permitting!).
An exciting new project is being planned – the restoration of an International Model K truck of 1918. The vehicle was recently donated by one of the district’s pioneering families, and we have obtained another donor chassis to provide some missing items. There is much information gathering under way before we actually start real work. It will take a couple of years at least, and is likely to present some real challenges. These are unique trucks, known as coal-scuttle style, with the radiator behind rather than in front of the engine. I hope this is not being too technical for readers, but it is what makes them such unusual and iconic vehicles. The photo illustrates the style.
The Friends of Fagan Park maintain the artefacts on display in the museums, and are continuously restoring worthwhile objects of local significance. There are always new projects being undertaken, and we welcome enquiries from anyone interested in joining our group. A reminder that the museums are open every Tuesday, and on the second Sunday of each month (afternoon only).
Ian Browning, Honorary Curator, 0419 435 475.