The Port Elliot Museum has acquired a piece of true historical farming equipment with the arrival of a McKay Sunshine Stripper Harvester, which was donated to the museum by local farmers Murray and Sheila Gould.
The invention in 1884 of the McKay Sunshine stripper harvester changed Australia's grain harvesting techniques, as this machine could strip, thresh, winnow and bag the grain and at the same time, it would increase grain yields and cut down on the amount of physical labour from six men to just one operator.
This machine that has been generously donated to the museum, was used on a farming property that was originally owned by Robert and Cary Bennett at Currency Creek.
Management of this mixed farm was later taken over by William Gould and his wife Winnifred (the grand daughter of Robert and Cary) when William returned from active duty on the Western Front after World War 1 in 1919.
The machine was bought by William Gould and it has remained on that property Glenalvie at Currency Creek and in the family for many years. In 1926, the McKay company ceased manufacture of these harvesters, so this would have been one of the last to be built.
Murray Gould who has retired from the land donated the machinery to the Port Elliot Museum, so that a little of the history of farming in the region could be promoted and preserved for future generations to enjoy.
"We noted that the museum already had a winnower and a stripper, so it made sense to add this to their historical collection of farm machinery," Murray said.
The machine was originally drawn by four horses, but in 1950, a tractor hitch was fitted and it was used in this manner until the 1952 crop was harvested. It now takes pride of place at the Port Elliot Museum which is situated in Wright Street, Port Elliot.
You can see the 'Sunshine Harvester' and other farm machinery along with the Legendairy Interpretive Centre, the miniature clothes collection, the restored Granite Island train and numerous other relics each Sunday and Thursday from 10am to 3pm.
The Museum will celebrate History Month with an 'open weekend' on Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26. For more details visit the website www.sfhmuseum.net.au