In 2018 the Booleroo Steam & Traction Preservation Society celebrated its 50th Anniversary.
The beginning was simple; a man enjoyed collecting wonderful machines…
In 1968, on the Booleroo property of Brian Knauerhase, a display and demonstration of ‘old equipment’ was arranged for the visiting Model T Club of Adelaide. Brian’s private collection included some fine examples for display. Other locals also brought along the treasures tucked away in their sheds…
At this first informal display of machinery the star attractions were few, but memorable. They included a Mogul 10-20, Titan 10-20, Fowler’s Compound Ploughing machine and a 1920’s Benz. Also on show was a restored 1916 Jelbart, 1918 model T truck and 1924 Fiat tractor.
Following the success of this day, the Booleroo Steam and Traction Preservation Society was formed with a founding membership of 10. Its charter was clear, “to Foster the restoration and preservation of steam engines, vehicles, farm tractors and implements which show the technical developments and skills on an era now past.”
Fast forward to present day. The number of members is still small, but they are an enthusiastic crew who work their magic on some very old and worn pieces of our history. They coax and coerce positively decrepit machines to life. The hunt for parts can be likened to a medieval quest. Long, painstaking and occasionally torturous! Firstly, speak to a multitude of strangers and enthusiasts – a little like Chinese whispers. Scour the internet, garage sales, auctions and newspapers to ferret out the elusive parts. Collect the pieces – to finally reassemble the beast. It’s like trying to complete a cosmic jigsaw puzzle that has been scattered to the four winds. The hunt is hard and not for the feint hearted, but the end result is definitely worth the effort.
The first formal Rally, held in 1969, presented for display 15 tractors, 2 steam exhibits & 7 additional displays. By 1975 this number had doubled and Penny Farthing races had been added to the Rally day drawcard. The annual rally continues to evolve, with different features each year.
The 2018 “Celebrating the ingenuity & inventions of our district” Rally showcased equipment and machinery that has been manufactured and designed in our local area. We also showed 77 Tractors, 17 Steam exhibits, 75 Stationary Engines and 147 other exhibits from the collection, in addition to visiting collections & exhibits.
The Booleroo Steam and Traction Society are guardians, perhaps ‘keepers of the faith’.
Proudly showcasing this important facet of not only our local farming industry, but ensuring the beauty, ingenuity and invention of the industrial revolution is preserved for future generations.