The Broadacre Farming Exhibit is largely made up of the various tractors used across the Central Highlands during its early farming years. 98% of the tractors are operational. Incorporated are tractors and machinery from the Queensland-British Food Corporation era of 1948 – 56, including a restored Massey Harris 55K. Also featured is ‘Jackieboy’, a powerful homemade tractor built in 1961.
In the 1960s and 1970s broadacre farming practices were increasing and more powerful tractors were required to pull large arrangements of implements.
In 1961, Jack Newell and his brother Harry designed and built the first large horsepower broadacre farming tractor used in the Peak Downs district. Broadacre farming techniques were changing. Hitching multiple implements together to cut labour costs, reduce fuel consumption and to speed up cultivation and planting times needed more horsepower. Commercially manufactured tractors, with sufficient horsepower and ground traction to pull these wide rigs, were not then available. Hitching tractors in tandem was one solution, but this had operational hazards.
So Jack and Harry designed their own, purchasing a war surplus General Grant tank to strip for parts. The gear box and final drive were removed to become the tractor transmission. One of the tank’s two 200 horsepower GM 671 diesel two stroke engines provided the power. Heavy truck components made up the majority of the remaining fittings. When completed, ‘Jackieboy’, as it became known from the family’s nickname, Jack’s ‘boy’, was considered probably the most powerful conventional tractor in Australia.
Jack and his sons built a similar tractor, again using tank components but with a UD motor, at their property Yungaba during the early 1970s. It was named ‘Son of Jackieboy’.
‘Jackieboy’ now resides in the Broadacre Farming Exhibit and is usually given a run during the annual Capella Pioneer Village Heritage Day, which is held on the second Saturday in September. ‘Son of Jackieboy’ is in retirement, but still operational and still in the district.
The complex is open from 9.00am to 1.00pm (last entry 12noon) Wednesday to Friday and Sundays during Autumn, Winter and Spring.
Coach and group tours are conducted by appointment. Group bookings can be made by phoning 07 4984 9425 or fax 07 4984 9640.