The Threshermen's Review, Volume 17 October 1908
page 12 The season is finished.
It lasted about 10 weeks, and some good tallies were recorded. Some machines threshed one hundred thousand bushels: the majority averaged seventy thousand. Price of threshing was three pence for wheat and barley and two pence for oats. Crops were fairly good, taken all over, and threshed out very well considering the dry weather. How threshing was done in the early days. The first threshing outs used were of the portable type, driven by a portable engine. The price for threshing with portable outfits was one shilling to fourpence per bushel.
Traction engines came into use about the year 1882, and most of them are still working. All English machinery was and is still used, as other types are found not suitable for this country.
Some details as to the present day threshing in our part , viz: Canterbury. The season begins about the middle of January and finishes in may or June. The first three or four weeks the outfits are engaged in stook threshing, and after that it is all stack threshing. Stacks average about 200 bushels each; but some yield as much as three or four hundred bushels each. All the grain in this country is put into sacks, which hold four bushels of wheat, or barley, and from four to five bushels of oats. Next season not more than 200lbs can be put in sacks or else farmers will have to pay four times the ordinary cost of carriage of grain on the railroad. The mill owner has to find all the men required to work the outfit except when stook threshing, when the farmers have to find three or four men extra, The farmer also has to find the teams. He also has to haul the coal required for threshing. The average consumption of coal is 1,200lbs, per thousand bushels, this amount includes shifting from stack to stack, and from one farm to another, getting up steam, etc. Coal costs 30 shillings per team.
The crew consist of eleven men who are engaged at the following work: Engine driver, band cutter, three men on the stack, one bag weigher, one bag carrier, one man man on straw stack, one water hauler and a cook. The wages are: 12 shillings per thousand for wheat and barley, and 10 shillings for oats. The engine driver and band cutter get more wages, viz, one per pound per thousand bushels for the driver, and fifthteen shillings for the band cutter, The cook gets two pounds ten shillings per week. The mill owner finds a cooking galley and the men pay a shilling a week for the use of it. It costs each man about 15 shillings per week for food share of cook's wages, use of galley etc. The men sleep in tents which they tae always take with them. All our machines are fitted with straw elevators and chaff fans and most of them are fitted with self feeders. The suction blast is coming in favor here. John Thomas Hearn, Rangitata Island, Canterbury, N.Z.
The traction engine is a 8hp single cylinder
Fowler. Michael Crowley, engine driver, Otaio.
John Bray's property, "Langdon", Cricklewood, Fairlie.
Written on the mill ? M. Crowley, Otaio
What year, season, crop? The mill was built in 1911. Summer. Wheat or oats.
Michael came out on the Boyne, at age 16, as a nominated immigrant from County Kerry. The vessel arrived in Christchurch in Feb. 1879 with his mother, sister and two brothers (John and Denis). His sister (Mary) who married Tim Brosnan [page 59] in Oamaru in 1878 had arrived in the Rakaia in Feb. 1875 as a dairymaid age 20. Denis worked on the Brosnan farm, Kerrytown and is buried in the Brosnan plot in Temuka with his mother, Hannah, who died in 1912, aged 86. John later went to America. Mary died in 1915.
The thumbnail photo looks like a double crank compound Fowler. Waimate County No 82 11Tons
Timaru Herald, 10 May 1895,
Page 3 SEADOWN.
Things have gone on quietly in our district since my last contribution. The farmers are busy ploughing for winter wheat. Stock are already on the turnips, which are, I am sad to say, too few, and potato lifting is nearly over. The local schoolmaster, I know, sincerely wishes the potato-picking was over, for it is the cause of many children, big and small, absenting themselves from school. When remonstrated with for detaining the children the farmer says, quite seriously and truly too, "Times are hard and I must be careful."
If there were no other sign that the approaching winter will be cold and wearisome the formation of a dancing class in our district points in that direction. The young, and some of the old who will not admit that " their dancing days are over," have formed a class for their amusement during the coming season. The attendance at school is now somewhat irregular on account of the before mentioned potato-picking. The school has increased in numbers since Mr Gillespie took charge, and now has a roll number of 103.
The main road to Timaru is the scene of busy traffic, and the numerous mobs of sheep which one daily sees pass by lead one to wonder where they all come from. They are mostly "boilers," and the drover will quietly tell you their destination is Washdyke — their price from ninepence to eighteenpence a head.
The traction-engine still puffs noisily by, loaded with wheat, and has slow and feeble opposition in the shape of two waggons. These two methods of haulage make one reflect. The former travels quickly, and carries a load of four times the latter, it feeds and drinks as it proceeds, whilst the latter crawls along snail-like, takes twice the time of the traction, and must stop to feed and rest. The steam train as a means of transport will soon displace the team waggons and wool trucks of the good old days.
Snapshot of the page as it appeared on Oct 30, 2013 Family’s heads are
full of steam By RUTH GRUNDY
MOST children bring home stray animals and ask if they can keep them. The Winter boys bring home traction engines. George Winter (79), two of his three sons, John and Evan, and grandson Bill (10) drove two traction engines from their homes in Cave, South Canterbury, to North Otago Vintage Machinery Club’s 25th anniversary celebrations at Clarks’ Mill, near Maheno, at Labour Weekend. The family owns four traction engines. Mr. Winter senior said he had always had a “bit of an affiliation” with the machines, which had been part of his family’s history for five generations. “My grandfather had them, and my uncle and father. Then they were sold off.” But it was not many years before he began buying them back again. Evan said the preoccupation with the engines was “hereditary”. “Some people take up golf,” he said. But the Winter family had “taken up” traction engines and had restored three when “the boys” — John, Evan and Brent — bought a fourth. Mr Winter senior did not know anything about the new purchase until a neighbour let the cat out of the bag. “And I said ‘oh no, they haven’t bought another one’,” Mr Winter senior said. The family keep the engines at Seadown, at W J Clarke’s sheds, which were built to house up to 13 traction engines when the machines were in their heyday. “Clarke’s was one of the biggest operators [of the engines] in the world [at the time],” Evan Winter said. The engines were used to operate threshing mills and for hauling. Once the fourth engine is restored, the Winter family would own three of the original “Clarke engines”, Evan Winter said. Mr Winter senior was reluctant to speculate on how much the collection might be worth.
Picture View from on high: Looking down on a 1911 McLaren traction engine owned by the Winter family, of Cave, South Canterbury. The family are the second owners of the engine, which was bought new by the Ruddenklau family, of Waimate (picture left).
Picture Family of enthusiasts: Standing with one of two traction engines they took to the North Otago Vintage Machinery Club’s 25th anniversary are grandfather George Winter (79), son Evan (41) and grandson Bill (10), all of Cave, South Canterbury.
Picture Vintage chaff: Operating the traction engine-powered chaff cutter
Timaru Herald, 2 August 1905, Page 1 FUNERAL NOTICE.
The Friends of Denis Crowley are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which will leave the residence of T. T. Brosnahan, Mill Road, Kerrytown, This Day, 2nd August, at 1 p.m., for Temuka Cemetery. H. C. DOSSETT, Undertaker, Pleasant Point.
Timaru Herald, 11 January 1911, Page 3 SOMETHING NEW IN THRESHING
Mr M. Crowley, of Makikihi, has recently had made to his own design, by Messrs Anderson and Co., Christchurch, an up-to-date threshing combine. The machine is a credit, to New Zealand manufacture. The frame is made of spotted bluegum; the shaker is 16ft. The riddle-box is fitted with Anderson and Ell's patent suction dresser, which is half the weight of that in any imported machine, and has also four inches more dressing room in the riddles. Tim caving riddle has four inches more length than in any of the imported machines. The road wheels are of a now design also, and are strongly bushed with gun-metal. The drum is made of solid steel, and the drum spindle is extra strong, and is fitted with the latest improved Saunders' concave. The bearings throughout are fitted with ring oilers. The hummeler was made to Mr M. Crowley's own design. The top riddle, box is differently constructed from any imported, and it, has a much quicker delivery to the screen. The screen itself is the only part of this machine, not made out of New Zealand material, and it is one of the best English make. Another improvement is that the mill is 5in higher off ground than usual, while the top is 8in lower to fork to. The whole combine reflects the greatest credit on the designer and the makers, Mr M. Crowley and Messrs Anderson and Co. Ltd. (Christchurch), who have carried out Mr Crowley's ideas so skillfully. The new combine should prove an eye-opener to those interested in this of machinery.
Timaru Herald, 13 March 1895, Page 4
Temuka -Tuesday, March 12th, 1895. (Before C.A. Wray, Esq., S.M.) Michael Crowley was charged with propelling an engine after sunset on the 4th March without showing a red light. The evidence of Michael Quinn went to show that accused did not burn a led light on that night, and that he had considerable difficulty in passing the engine. It was ten minutes to 8 o'clock when he passed. His Worship said that accused was liable to a fine of £10 and any damages, but as this was the first case of the kind he would inflict a fine of 20s and costs.
Timaru Herald, 27 September 1906, Page 1
M. CROWLEY, having now in his possession one of the best Steel Saw Benches procurable in South Canterbury, and which is fitted with Crowley's gauges, is prepared to saw anything from a 1 x 1 up to any size. M. CROWLEY, Otaio, Thresher, Chaffcutter, and Sawer. Houses removed.
North Otago Times 1 October 1908, Page 1 Waimate County Council
That the Clerk make a demand on Mr Crowley, Makikihi, for payment of the costs, amounting to £5 1s 6d, incurred in repairing damage to Rodgers' road by his traction engine.
Oamaru Mail, 18 July 1917, Page 3 WAIMATE MAGISTRATE'S COURT.
Failing to Register Traction Engine. Edward Crowley, for failing to register his traction engine, was ordered to pay costs 20s.
Timaru Herald, 27 September 1917, Page 2 Waimate County Council
Mr M. Crowley asked permission to haul a few trucks of timber on the road without having to register under the heavy traffic by-law. The by-law must be carried out.
Timaru Herald, 10 March 1919, Page 6
Heavy yields of oats are being reported from all parts of South Canterbury, but a record was surely reached last week at Makikihi, where Mr M. Crowley threshed a ten-acre paddock of Ruakura oats for Messrs Quinn Bros., and returned 161½ bushels per acre. The previous heaviest yield recorded this season was 132 bushels to the acre from 11 acres at Waimate.
Harvesters at Langdon, Cricklewood (John Bray's farm) near Fairlie.
In the Court of Arbitration of New Zealand, Canterbury Industrial District -
In the matter of "The Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Act, 1905," and
its amendments, and in the matter of an industrial dispute between the Waimate
Workers' Industrial Union of Workers and the under mentioned persons, firms and
companies (hereinafter called "the employers"):- pg 353.
Albury Farmers' Threshing Company (Limited), Albury
Brodgen, M., Temuka
Buckingham, W.T., Waimate
Batchelor, Henry, Fairlie
Beattoe Bros.., Orari
Buxton, R.C., Peel Forest
Benbow and Barney, Temuka
Chapman and Fleming, Geraldine
Clarke, J. Seadown
Cumming Bros., Waimate
Clough, R., Morven
Fleming, J.C., Geraldine
Fitzgerald Bros., Orari Bridge
Gregan, W. Geraldine
Guthrie, Peter, Waihao Downs
Hughes and Johnston, Waitohi Flat
Herron, James, Temuka
Harmer Bros., Belfield
Hearn, Stevens and Watts, Rangitata
Hawkins Bros., Waimate
Hayman, Walter, Studholme
Hayman, Henry, Studholme
Keane, John, Pleasant Point
Mitchell, John, H. Studholme
Norrish, R., Otaio
Neilson, John Peter, Pleasant Point
Orr Bros., Waitohi
Pelvin, Fred, Waimate
Preddy, Mark, Temuka
Prew, Thomas, Waimate
Robertson, James, Winchester
Rodgers Bros., Makikihi
Ruddenklau, Henry, Waimate
Ross and McClintock, Waimate
Stewart, James, Hakataramea
South Canterbury Threshing-mill owners' Industrial Union of Employers, Timaru
Sherratt Bros., Geraldine
Slee, F.J., Waimate
Stocker, Frank, Washdyke
Snell, J. Rangitata
Thornley, Thomas, Temuka
Wilson, James, Fairlie
Whyte, George, Albury
Walker, James, Temuka
Walker, J.C., Geraldine
Wilson and Horner, Geraldine
1. The hours of labour shall be left to the discretion of the mill-owner, but he shall not require employees to work by lamplight or other artificial light, except in cases of emergency, when one hour shall be allowed.
2. When employees are engaged to work by the hour their rate of pay shall not be less than 1s per hour.
3. Any employee may agree with his employees to employ them on piecework, and in such cases the piecework rates shall be as follows: For ordinary workers, 12s per 1,000 bushels wheat or barley, and 10s per 1,000 bushels oats. Three bagman shall be employed in all cases, and shall be paid at the same rate as those fixed for ordinary workers, but it shall be at the option of the employer to get one of the three to assist the stackman when required.
4. Nothing in this award contained shall apply to any driver or feeder.
5. It shall be the duty of the waterman to attend to his horses whether the mill is working or not.
6. Men employed at piecework rates who are required to be on duty to assist in shifting the mill from camp to camp shall be paid at the rate of 1s per hour for the time during which they shall be required to be on duty for such purposes, but they shall not be entitled to any payment for shifting the mill from stack to stack.
8. A weeks notice of termination of employment shall be given by the employer to his men, and of the intention to leave the employment shall be given by the men of the employer.
9. All food shall be supplied on the co-operative system; the employer to supply the galley, cooking utensils and coals only, at a charge of 15s per week, and the cook, food and al other requirements to be paid for by the employees. The galley and cook shall be under the control of the employer, and a pass-book containing a record of the provisions purchased shall always be kept in the galley for the inspection of the men.
10. This award shall apply to all threshing-machines working in South Canterbury....
Frederick R. Chapman, J., President.
Reference: Awards, Agreements, Orders, Etc., Made Under the Industrial Conciliation, by New Zealand Dept. of Labour - 1907 - Page 352
Auckland Weekly News June 20 1907 Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19070620-12-2
Otago Witness 29 April 1897, Page 47
TUSSOCK AND ASPHALT RHYMES
By David M'Kee Wright.
No. II — AFTER HARVEST
He came down after harvest, he ain't been here three days,
The bloke that does the shouting, the bloke that always pays ;
They chewed his ear in dozens, he made his money fly,
And now he's bumming round for beer with coppers hot and dry.
For it's up with bluey boys and out upon the track,
There's a mill or two short handed still a-threshing at the back.
There's the bunnies fit for killing, and the poison gangs are filling.
And we'll waltz around Matilda till we make another cheque.
He was up about Waimate working fairly night and day,
He'd forked in eighty bushels wheat — that wasn't no child's play —
He'd wallabied right into town to save his blooming fare,
And now if he'd a thrummer left he says he wouldn't care.
For it's up with bluey boys and start to travel back,
There ain't do points in starving here with tucker on the track,
We'll soon be fit and willing, and the poison gangs are filling,
So we'll waltz around Matilda till we make another cheque.
There are longish tramps and weary in the land where tussocks grow,
The frosts are pretty keen at night, the hills have copp'd the snow ;
There's a fairish bit of hunger and the rabbits aren't there,
If he had a plug of Juno now he says he wouldn't care.
For it's hump your bluey boys with the billy in your hand,
There's, a lot of men amoving round about the blooming land ;
There's plenty blokes is willing, but there ain't no rabbit killing,
And the waltzing round Matilda in the winter will be grand!
Dunedin, April 1897.
Billy - a tin can with lid and wire handle used to boil food or water over an open fire
Boil the billy - stop for a meal
Bluey- a blue blanket - commonly used by swagmen for wrapping their processions, now swag
To hump the bluey -to go on a tramp, carrying a swag on your back
Matilda - a swag
Waltzing Matilda -carrying a swag
April 28, 1889 NYT
What with the hedge and the hay and grain ricks, the willow-bordered streams, the mills with water wheels and the solid styles of architecture, both in town and country, the traveller at times fancies himself in Yorkshire or Devon. The stacks like huge beehives await the coming of the thrashers. All the reaping in NZ is done with American reapers and binders, of which as many as forty may be seen at work in a field at once, and the thrashing is also accomplished by machinery, which is not generally owned by the farmers, but is taken from one station to another by a company which owns them and thrashes out the grain by contract.
Otago Witness 21 March 1906, Page 75
Dear Dot, — Since I last wrote I have had a pleasant six weeks' holiday up Fairlie way and at Waimate. We are having splendid harvest weather, and the farmers are very busy getting their harvest all over. There was a mill and about dozen men camped at our gate for two days, and they were a. rowdy lot of fellows. Yours truly, SILVERY EYE.
Timaru Herald, 14 May 1881, Page 2
Fire at Waiho.— A stack of wheat belonging to Mr Studholme, and a threshing mill belonging to Messrs Quinn Brothers of Makikihi, were burned at Waiho Downs on Thursday night. The threshing mill had been engaged threshing Mr Studholme's wheat. The origin of the fire is unknown.
Timaru Herald, 16 October 1893, Page 3
A special meeting of the committee of the Timaru branch of the Shearers and Labourers' Union was held in the Oddfellows' Hall on Saturday afternoon. The meeting was called for the purpose of discussing with the threshing mill owners of the district a scale of wages that was drawn up, and submitted to them, by the members of the Union to their general meeting held in August last. There was a good attendance of members, but the mill owners were poorly represented, only six attending— namely, Messrs J. Talbot, W G. Campbell, W. S. Harkness, B. Pelvin, W Pulford, and Preddy. Mr Talbot said that he had been connected with threshing mills for the past twenty years, and he found the system of paying by the hour to work the best. He had always paid one shilling per hour to all his men, cook included, the men finding all the provisions, and he always found that after everything was paid it cost the men 10s 6d per week per man for their food. He considered that it was absolutely necessary that the Union all over South Canterbury should be unanimous in fixing a scale.
Timaru Herald, 24 August 1897, Page 3
IN BANKRUPTCY. J. F. DOUGLAS, THRESHING MACHINE OWNER.
A first meeting of the creditors of James Ferguson Douglas, threshing-machine owner, Studholme. Sworn and examined by Mr Montgomery, the bankrupt stated that he was a threshing machine owner, residing at Studholme since last April. Before that had lived at Temuka for about 18 years Attributed his difficulties to small profits obtained for threshing. Had his combine burned last year. It was mortgaged to Mr Anderson, who got the insurance money. Lost some threshing through the combine being burned, and had a very poor season. Was sued by four creditors, and therefore filed. One of his sons had also been sued, as a partner, as he had carried on as J. F. Douglas and Son since he began chaff-cutting, but his son had no money in it. His name was put m m order to enable him to collect debts. Produced the two books he had kept, and bank pass-book. Had butts of cheques at home. Could make no offer, To Mr Tennent : Had an interview with you on 31st May last, and gave you a statement of my position. Mr Tennent read a statement showing assets £1170, liabilities £440, showing a surplus of £730. The items were : Assets —Goodwill of leasehold sections, Temuka, £60, threshing mill £650, galley, horses, dray, cart, £100, freehold sections, Temuka, £200, leaseholds, Waimate,£20, book debts for threshing done £140; total £1170. Liabilities— due on mill £360, on sections at Temuka. £80; total £440.
Ashburton Guardian, 3 February 1900,
Threshing Facilities.—Messrs Wooding Bros., of Woodbury, W Greig, of Gleniti, and Messrs Preddy Bros., of Temuka, have each imported one of Clayton and Shuttleworth's latest improved machines for the coming season.
Otago Witness 14 April 1883, Page 17
Thresher, Timaru, writes: Having noticed in one of your issues a statement about threshing-machines, I would like to give you my experience of the Marshall. I have wrought [sic] one for the last 10 years, and am now working two of the firm's latest improved, and I can safely say that I can thresh 64 bags an hour and have the grain dressed to compete with any other maker. As regards shaking the grain, and strength and durability of machinery, Marshall's is far superior to any machine I have seen working.
Timaru Herald, 24 March 1919, Page 2 AN INQUEST.
At the Courthouse on Saturday, before Mr. V.G. Day, Coroner, an inquest was held touching the death of Thomas NcNicholl, who died suddenly on Friday last at Claremont when working on a threshing mill. T. A. Burn, cook on the mill referred to, said that deceased had gone to the galley and asked for a drink of water, shortly after the mill had ceased work for the day. After drinking the water deceased collapsed. All efforts at resuscitation were fruitless. The Coroner returned a verdict of death from heart failure.
Timaru Herald, 24 August 1914, Page 9 FAIRLIE FARMERS OFFER TO SOW
A well attended meeting of farmers was held in the Fairlie Public Hall on Friday afternoon to discuss the question of solving additional spring wheat for the good of the Empire in case of emergencies arising out of the present war. Mr C. J. Talbot was voted to the chair, and he explained that the meeting had been called to ascertain what help Fairlie farmers could give in the movement taking place in other parts of South Canterbury, in the direction of increasing the area, of spring wheat. There was likely to be a shortage in the Old World for at least a couple of seasons. In the Homeland starvation conditions would be the lot of some if the war continued. New Zealand was the only country in the world which could sow wheat now and reap the harvest during the next few months; therefore it was their duty to help great Britain in feeding its multitudes. Any suitable areas, however small, should be sown, for every acre sown might be the means of feeing at least four or five people for a year. The chairman alluded to the appeal being made to grain growers' by the Prime Minister and the Farmers Union. He also read a telegram from Mr. J. Connolly, the meeting success and detailing what had been done by the workers in Geraldine in the direction of using land given rent free for the relief of probable local distress.
Mr Heckler reported having attended with Mr. J. Connolly, a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in Timaru. He stated that the merchants were making concessions in regard to the price's of seed wheat and manure, and the Government was being approached with the request for a reduction in railway carnage on these commodities. He strongly urged farmers to grow wheat where ever possible. Mr Isitt said that he would grow some wheat, but his difficulty was that on difficult country it was almost impossible to procure a threshing mill. With so many men leaving for the front it might be difficult to get harvesters, particularly in the back blocks. Mr Tortter said that he had something to do with a mill and he would guarantee that any extra areas sown would be threshed wherever they were (Applause.) He was also sure that crops would be harvested even if townsmen had to come out to do it. He mentioned that Crown tenants held their leases under restriction as to the amount of cropping to be done in each year. He moved that the Minister of Lands be asked to remove cropping restriction on Government lands for this season in respect of extra areas sown in cereals. This was seconded by Mr W. Gallen and carried unanimously. The chairman was authorised to wire this revolution to the Hon. W. F. Massey, and to also ask for a reduction in railway freights on seed wheat and manured. The question of procuring seed wheat was next discussed. It was stated that the kind of spring wheat most favoured by Fairlie farmers Red Tuscan, could not be procured in Timaru. Mr Bryce Wright said that he had three stacks of Red Tuscan. He would endeavour to get it threshed immediately, and would sell to farmers in the district at 4s a bushel on the farm at Cricklewood. It was a good sample. This generous offer was received with thanks and applause. It was decided to ask those collecting for the Defence Fund to also canvass farmers urging them to sow cereals at once. Mr Peter Gaffaney was added to the electing committee, and several of these present, including the Rev. H.O. T. Hanby offered to drive canvassers round in their motor cars. Farmers present also promised to interview their neighbours on the matter at once. Mr Annan (Meville Downs) offered to work in his district, and said that spring wheat could be put in for another month. He instanced his success with Marshall's White, sown much later than this last year. Of course everything depended upon the season. On the suggestion of Mr Trotter the clergy in the district were asked to mention the matter from the pulpit.
Offers to put in additional areas of spring wheat were then received as follows:—
C. W. Isitt 50 acres
J. Connor 30 acres
Bryce Wright, John Trotter, W. Bain, W. Bray, A. L. Dobson 20 acres each:
W. Gallen. C.J. Talbot, J. W. Sealey, G. Giding and C. Rudd 10 acres each, total 230 acres.
It was also, announced that Mr G Macdonald (Kimball) had 30 acres which he intended putting in oats, was ploughed, and he would lease it for wheat growing at a very moderate rental. It was decided to ask all who posses vacant sections to allow workers to utilise them rent free for growing produce during the coming season.
National Efficiency Board 1917 July: “Will all expert stack builders in the County kindly send their names, addresses and age to Chairman of Committees Fairlie” As the second division for war was soon to be called, many of the farmers themselves would be called up for the First World War. They could not recommend keeping back single men to work chaffcutters if it meant sending married men in their place. The government had agreed to allow youths of 18 years to sit for their engine drivers certificates. It was advised that 195 Christchurch High School boys, also boys from Waitaki and Timaru High Schools had signified their willingness to go out on farms and work during the Christmas vacation. The Efficiency Board was notified it would need the boys for three months. Very complimentary reference was made to the work done by these boys. Extracts from ‘Sherwood Downs and beyond’ by Connie Rayne
Just getting started a traction engine and mill working at the Geraldine Anzac Commemorations Rangitata Island Aerodrome, Brodie Road, April 2014. The wheat at Rangitata would barely thrash, far too wet. It sat out in that dreadful weather over Good Friday, uncovered, so was drenched.
Chaff cutter throws a belt - it is a dusty job
Sewing up the bags Winchester Showgrounds April 2014 with the South Canterbury Traction Engine Club truck. The old boys would be chuckling about all the crew on the bagging station - two men used to keep up and hand sew the bags and not with a sewing machine and stack the bags in those days of yore. Fred W. using a bag sewer behind the chaff cutter - and was told that they can no longer get hold of seaming twine...an old observer at Winchester had them on about the same thing, and he still had a needle and twine stuck into his hat - been there 50 years Fred reckons! Bag or seaming twine was excellent stuff very strong and even, suspect the twine was made by Doneghy's, of sisal and definitely not flax. It was used both for wool bales and bags. Came in a hank, long lengths enough to sew a bag. The sewing palm is a piece of leather that went across the palm, with a thumb hole and fastened with a buckle across the back of the hand. On the heel of the Palm was riveted a flat brass cup that the eye-end of the needle would sit in when it is being pushed through the sack. You couldn't manage with out it, the hand wouldn't stand it as some force was needed on occasion to push the needle through. They weren't used in the shed at all, just on the header as bags were being sewn all the time. The requirement for bags slowly petered out as bulk handling of grain advanced, and those seeds requiring bags would be sewn up with a bag sewer. Then the change over to capless woolpacks and hooks saw the demand from wool sheds drop suddenly. The two together helped the manufacturer to discontinue an 'obsolete' line, much to the consternation of the country's vintage machinery clubs. Probably still manufactured somewhere on the Sub Continent.
Info. The chaff cutter is on is a 1935 Ford V8 chassis, this was Andrews & Beavan’s Commonwealth model driven off a ‘power take off’ from the truck transmission and all hands went back to base at night. It took five men to operate it, two on the stack, one man feeding and two men on the bags. photo. There is an interesting story about the cab though. Apparently they were sent out with a chassis and bonnet only, the cab had to be made locally, which they were in Wellington. This was the case for all the American trucks at that time and is the reason why Ford's, International's etc. look so similar, their cabs were all made by the same firm.
Extract from John A Lee's 'Shining with the Shiner' p12-13
He talks about the Shiner and how he had walked with as a young man as he headed south from Canterbury and then writes:- The bar room knew who could shear against the world's best, who could sew wheat sacks behind a mill however short the straw and heavy the ear and fast the golden stream. Do I not myself croon with pleasure at the memory of sewing nearly sixty bags an hour as a boy, when a golden stream from short straw threatened to overwhelm me in Southland.
That seems a pretty awesome rate to be sewing wheat bags including threading the needle, rolling the top, through and round the right hand lug twice and then about 5-6 stitches to the left , around the second lug twice and then a double stitch to finish and on to the next. Whew!!! There must have been another man fitting the new sack and stacking the completed one. J.S. Aug. 2015.
Fairlie has a similar truck. It is a Ford 1936. Original owner: William Winter, Albury. Price when new: £960. In January 1984 the Timaru Herald had a photo of this truck. The members of the Horse Drawn Society had produced more than 3000 bags of chaff during the past season. Profits of the sale were put towards restoration work and another donation enabled the society to complete the entrance and finish restoring the blacksmith shop and fitted a new set of wheels onto the Cobb and Co. coach to make it again available to lead the Mackenzie Country and Western Carnival parade.
Fairlie. Johnny Dick operated a traction engine and threshing mill. Fred Allan's was a Burrell. The mill was painted red. They made a lovely hum or drone when operating as the wheat was separated from the straw and directed into bags at one end while the straw was delivered by an elevator at the other to form a rough stack. Threshing would be done either from the stook at the start of the season say about February and then would carry on into the late autumn from stacks. In the off season Fred Allan would turn to sawmilling again using the Burrell as an energy source. When he became involved in transport F.V. Allan Carrier, Fairlie he needed a suitable crate to attach to his truck to hold sheep on there way to the works either Smithfield or Pareora. He used his mill to produce a supply of very light but strong poplar battens which Jack Shears then used to build a crate. He had others built but at Jack Shears funeral (1975) Fred said that that crate had been the best and had lasted for something like 20 years including a capsize. The Gallen Bros. who operated a chaffcutting business around Fairlie. John Shears Jan. 2014. William John Dick was the manager on Mr. W. Gallen's farm, Fairlie.
1936 Otago. "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". WA-03150-F.
Why do some of the belts have one twist when working? The main drive belt drives better when it is crossed and it doesn't flap in the wind. The belts are leather.
I was a boy when the mill came around. Firstly putting a twist in the belt was how you corrected the rotation of the driven pulley when it needed to be the opposite of the driving pulley, I can think of no other reason, as, when crossed, the belt edges rubbed and it would wear quicker. I would guess that the belts were mainly a very heavy canvas impregnated with something to give it some grip, leather was of course used for belting but these were long belts and leather would have been costly. Also the Mill's drum central to threshing the grain was heavy and acted as a flywheel providing extra energy as bigger clumps of material hit it, avoiding extra strain on the belt. The person feeding the Mill at the top would cut the sheaves and spread them as evenly as possible on the conveyor into the Mill to avoid overloading the machinery. The most vivid memory I have of the mill's visit is as the stack got smaller, its inhabitants, 100s of mice would start running out we boys encouraged by the men to slaughter then or see who could catch the most - by the tail. Ed. Fenn, ex Gleniti. Jan. 2013
Ashburton Guardian, July 2 2013 pg9
Growing fuel for the farm workforce
A working draught horse needed about a bag of chaff per horse every two days. There is about 24 to 26 bags to a tons. A six horse team would require a 25 acre paddock of oats to provide sufficient chaff and they also needed a run off paddock. During the winter non- work period straw and chaff with a smaller quantity of oats added as well as some meadow hay or its equivalent was needed. On a farm using several teams of horses a chaffcutter was a necessary item of farm equipment. A contractor could be called on to cut chaff for a lesser number of horses. Early small chaffcutters could be drawn by a 'horse power' or 'whim' which required two horses to turn the mechanism which drove the cutter or perhaps a stationary engine for the same purpose. Booth MacDonald Ltd of Christchurch were early manufacturers of such small machines. Andrews & Beaven Ltd of Christchurch manufactured most portable chaffcutters. They produced two large models, Empire and Commonwealth with a 10, 12, or 14 inch feed. The Empire was driven from the side with the cutter wheel running at right angles to the machine body and the Commonwealth driving mechanism allowed the cutter wheel to run paralled with the machine body. Once cut, the chaff was riddled to take out the bits of string which had been the band on the oat sheaves, and the long straws or flag and blow it out and also cut the very fine cut, as was the case if some grass was in the oats. Andrews and Beaven made two smaller models, the Canterbury and the Selwyn. A Selwyn model of 1910 vintage has a 10in "feed" and a three blade cutter wheel. It is a single bag machine which had to be stopped to change the bags. Bags used we knew as 'three strippers'. They needed to be sound and hole free, as the screwpress applied pressure in filing the bags and they were then pulled together tightly at the top. About every fifty bags cut the knives were changed in order to make a good job. Once stacked, a period of at least six weeks was allowed for the stacks to sweat before being cut for chaff. In 2013 the demand for oat sheaf chaff is minimal, and along with lucerne chaff it is used mainly for light horses and race-horses. 1936
Timaru Herald, 11 June 1919, Page 3 Fairlie, mild winter.
The grass has dried up under the influences of frost and wind, but the sheep are doing well owing to the absence of rain and cold winds. Everything is now made as snug as possible for the winter. Potatoes are dug and roots pitted and straw has been carted for the stock. Threshing is now at an end. The mills having had a remarkably good run. Even the most out of the way places have had a visitation from the thresher. The chaff cutter is still out, and will find plenty to do no matter how long the the weather lasts.
Timaru Herald, 13 September 1916, Page 4
The grass is growing rapidly and the crops have made a good start. Lambing has commenced under good circumstances, and farm work is being pushed on rapidly. The spring threshing will commence this week and the chaff-cutter is now on its spring round.
Timaru Herald, 23 January 1915, Page 2
TO THE GRAIN-GROWING PUBLIC OF SOUTH CANTERBURY. FROM 20th January, 1915, I have severed by connection with the S.C. Millowners' Union, therefore I am now free to Thresh your Grain at reasonable prices. Rates on application. W. J. CLARKE, Mill owner, Levels.
Timaru Herald 6 August 1920, Page 9
FOR SALE SEVERAL THRESHING PLANTS. W. J. CLARKE, Levels.
Harvesting hay with three teams of horses, stooks in the background, hay stacker in firground. - south of Waimate, April 1947 "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library".
A haystack falling down. Cottage with a woodshed, near woolshed near Timaru, 11Aug.1950 Whites Aviation Collection ATL
Waimate countryside May 1951 Whites Aviation Collection ATL. 5x haystacks and another one across the road, belonging to a neighbour, a different shape.
Haystack by Douglas Stewart, 1934
The creamy frost of toi-toi plumes
Above the rushes' blue-green shrilling
Forewarns the farm that winter comes,
But the rich land is not unwilling,
For where begins the yellow sward
Against that trembling sea-green rumour,
Strong hands have here in haystack stored
A whole green field, a whole gold summer.
The field is bare that once concealed
So much of little fur and feather,
Too shorn of cover now to shield
A field mouse from the hawk or weather;
There was a clear I was taught by an old Irishman. "Look after the corners John and the middle will look after itself" These were conventional wheat and hay rectangular stacks. J.S. June 2015, writing about pre 1940.
The hay conveyor was painted with the obligatory red oxide paint.
Band cutter - person
who cuts the bands off the sheaves. The band was twine and it had to be cut and
the sheaves fed in at a steady rate or the grain did not separate properly.
Binder - a machine for binding, as sheaves, books, etc.
Binder twine - sheaves from a binder machine were tied with twine hence binder twine.
Bushel - a dry measure of 8 gallons
Chaff - straw cut small for cattle feeding, the husk of grains, worthless matter.
Chaffcutter - A chaff cutter has knives in it and it cuts up all the straw as well as the grain that goes into a sack. This is usually used for horse feed.
Cocked up - The less exposure hay gets to the weather the better. If the weather is drying all that is needed is to rake it up into windrows after it has been cut, and shortly after it should be cocked up, both of which operations may be done with the hay rake. After the hay has been dumped into heaps from the windrow the cocks should he straightened up with the fork, so that they will turn a shower if it comes.
dead ripe - when the grain is hard as shot
goose necked - all the sap has left the straw, which curls over as it dies
ripe enough - cutting the wheat a little on the green side
Dun oats - a variety of oats
G.B.O.S. - Good bright at sheaf 24 bags per ton
Hay - grass mown and dried for fodder
Haycock - a conical heap of hay
Hay raking - turning hay to day- now days placed into windrows
Hayrick or haystack- a large pile of hay with ridged or pointed tip
Hayseed - (colloq.) a rustic; a country bumpkin
Hay sweep - with a hay stacker 1920s
Reaper - a harvester, to cut down ripe grain for harvesting
Rick - a stack of grain or hay
Scythe - mowing implement with a long curve blade swung by a bent handle in both hands
Sheaf - bundle of stalks of wheat, oats or any other grain
Sheave - to bind into sheaves
Sheaves -a bundle of grain e.g. wheat. Sheaf single.
Sickle - a reaping hook with a semi circular blade and a short handle
Stack - a large heap of hay or straw
Stack - build a stack of wheat sheaves. Stacks may look "outside", they are wrongly put together "inside". The bottom of the stack should be begun by setting up a stook in the middle and building all around that with the heads of the sheaths up and the butts down until the outside is reached. By this means the grain is saved at the bottom and there is no waste. The outer sheaves may lie with a slope downwards and outwards and thus shoot off the rain or damp. Keep the heart of the stack full. Thatching a stack and building a stack is different
Stacking - goal a safe stack. A proper built stack should not require supports. A great many good stack builders build forward and kneel upon each sheaf as it is placed before them but some think this is a needless waste of time and trousers to jump along upon one's knees when it can be done as efficiently and more speedily on one's feet. Others work on their feet and by working backward place three rows into position and the outer ring bound by the two inner rings seldom slips outwards, unless the sheaves are very short. It is not everyone who is able to build a stack as it should be built. Any ordinary farm labourer can throw the sheaves butt outwards into a heap and call the pile a stack. The top or roof of the stack the outer sheaves should be thatched on or laid overlapping like the slates on a roof. Apart from the prettiness, the square, trim appearance of the stacks, these matters ought to be attended to.
Stook - a group of sheaves set up in a field of grain. To set up in stooks.
Stooking- each pair of sheaves should stand up independent of the other sheaves thus enabling air to pass through the crevices between each pair, when badly built it cannot shoot the rain and when once wetted through cannot dry without being shifted and set up again. Point then due north and south, so that one side gets the sun in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Straw - a stalk after grain has been threshed out; collection of such dry stalks, used for fodder
Teamster - the man who walked behind his horse team, he was also responsible for looking after his team of horses which in most cases could be six draught horses. He would begin his day by feeding his team of horses by 5.30 each morning, then they would be groomed (brushed down), and all the harnesses put on, before the teamster would have breakfast at 7 a.m. He would leave the stables by 7.30 am and yoke up his team and head for the paddock, where he would walk behind his horses with whatever implement he was using for four hours. Then they would be given an hour or so at their feeders. By 1 p.m. they would be yoked up together, in their chains, and do anther four hours of work, before returning to the stable, where they would be unharnessed and fed. After tea the teamster would groom the horses, put their canvas covers on for the night and stabled or turn out to the pasture for the night. They might do six acres per day.
Ted - to spread out for drying, as newly mown hay
Thrashing - to separate grain from the chaff by use of a flail or threshing machine. It threshes the grain out which goes into a sack and all the straw goes out over the elevator. The grain is sold to wheat mills etc.
Threshing machine or mill - an agricultural machine for thrashing grain
Whim - a horse gin. A horse capstan. A mill that uses a horse as the power source
Winnow - to separate grain from chaff by means of wind or current of air
Windrow - hay raked into a row for drying.
Windmows - vs stooking. A practice in the Old Country in a wet "catchy" harvest. If the practice were general, contract stookers would soon come supplied with an old horse and dray, or even a sledge, and would wind-mow more easily, and almost as quickly as they now stook. Whenever wheat is fit to cut it is fit to put in wind-mows containing not more than a small dray load each, so that every sheaf that was cut could be put safe before night. However bad the weather may be, his wheat will take no harm, beyond the top inverted sheaf, and that be need not mix with the rest. Once in wind-mows the farmer can sleep in peace. Apart from the greatly improved quality, it would always repay a little extra expense by the saving in waste caused by harsh drying, birds and other vermin. He need not hurry his stacking or threshing, but can wait until the wheat and the weather are quite fit for either. Thus he can always take advantage of the very driest and best weather for stacking, and do it at the best pace that will give the wheat the advantage of a good airing if it need it. The reason that wind-mows are not universally adopted by all good farmers in Britain is, that by drying more slowly they cause some delay at a time when the sun there is getting low and powerless. Timaru Herald, 11 March 1885, Page 3
Timaru Herald, 29 December 1920, Page 8 Haymaking by
If the season has been has been so dry that there will be less hay made than usual. The sooner hay can be safely stacked after it is cut the sweeter and more nutritious it is for stock. The best time to cut hay is when the majority of the grasses are in bloom. Some say it should be done when the sorrel is beginning to ripen. If the crop is left too long before cutting the juices all dry up and the hay loses in quality and colour. In stacking hay it is not advisable to build too big a stack, as tins may mean loss of time and effort. The stack should be slightly sprung, so that the rain cannot penetrate the side from the eaves. It should be kept well hearted up throughout, and after it is topped a load of straw should be put on as soon as possible. A little salt sprinkled on the stack with each load will increase the quality of the hay, and will make it more acceptable to stock, especially if it has been weathered. The stack should be tied, down immediately after it is put up, so that there may be no danger of wind interfering with it.
Timaru Herald, 14 January 1909, Page 4 The
The plough does not appear to have been much in favour with the early settlers, doubtless because they found plenty to do in the perfecting of the arrangements for carrying on the pastoral industry. At all events the "Timaru Herald," in its first issue, June 11th, 1864, had the following:— "Until the present season very little attention has been paid to agricultural farming in and about Timaru. In fact we may say that there has been literally no farming. Certainly we have a few farms about Arowhenua and the Waimate, and also a very limited number near Timaru, but the supplies from these farms are not sufficient for one third of the population of Timaru alone. A glance at the imports will convince our readers that we are almost entirely supplied with farm produce from Lyttelton and Dunedin." A little later in the year the "Herald" recorded that the area of land in cultivation was 900 acres, and that "Several thousand bushels of oats have been imported, and the district supplied 500 bushels. The price is now 6s, and oats have scarcely ever been lower than 5s. Flour last week was £30 per ton, cash."
The first farm in South Canterbury was probably Neal's,
just north of Temuka between the Main Road and the river.
Mr Neal came down
from Christchurch early in 1859, bringing with him draught horses,
implements, seed, and dairy cows, and as a member of the household a youth
of 16, George Levens, who has been ever since and still is well known in
that district. Mr Levens had been a carpenter's apprentice, and this
training made him very useful in the erection of Neal's house. He took as
readily to horse as to hammer and plane, taking the first load of wood drawn
by horses into Timaru, and becoming a first-prize ploughman when ploughing
matches were, instituted.
Mr Neal brought the first threshing machine into the district, a 3-horse "coffee-pot" power, with small iron thresher that packed with the powerbox on a pair of wheels for transport, and a separate winnower. The terms were 1s per bushel, pay and feed all hands (10) and feed the horses (6 or 8), and the average output was about 100 bushels a day, so that threshing cost about 2s a bushel. That, however, would be cheaper than threshing with the flail and winnowing with a breeze or a "fanner." In 1866 Mr E. Pilbrow, of Temuka, brought in the first steam thresher and combine, and his terms were "All hands found, grain dressed, bagged and weighed, 1s per bushel; or if farmer finds coal and extra hands (i.e., all but driver and feeder) 9d per bushel." Mr Sealey states, in the paper already quoted, that the district from Temuka to the Waihi Bush was settled before 1870, because, like some settled districts in North Canterbury, not because there were no runs there, but because the land being nearly all level and nearly all of good quality, the squatters found it impossible to "spot" it so as to prevent farmers buying it, as was done with the downs land. Prior to 1870 there were very few farmers south of the Selwyn except around Temuka and Winchester.
A threshing machine at Temuka 1861 photographed by an unknown photographer. This machine came from the Heathcote wharf and was landed at Timaru by whaleboat and was worked at Riccarton before it was taken to Temuka. This was the first painted photograph in South Canterbury, taken by a travelling photographer. (Information from back of file print, source not recorded) ATL
In 1865 Agriculture, with a capital A, was formally recognised in the organisation of the Timaru Agricultural and Pastoral Association. This title must have been at the time either adopted or prophetic, as there was nothing in the conditions of the district at the time to suggest the inclusion of the word " Agricultural." The first show of the Association was held in that year, with 112 entries of all kinds, a number that was considered "extremely large." The runholders lived somewhat solitary lives, miles apart, and were glad of any valid excuse for assembling for friendly intercourse. The Show provided one of the best and most popular of these excuses, and whether held at Timaru, Waimate, or Fairlie, the "Show" still maintains its pre-eminence as the rural holiday of the year. The literary and prophetic recognition of Agriculture was followed by the fact. The whole of the available country having been taken up under pastoral leases, newcomers must perforce turn their attention to farming for grain, the high price ruling for all kinds of farm produce was a good incentive, and in 1867 the estimated yield of wheat was 64,000 bushels, and of oats 91,000.
In 1917 South Canterbury Threshing Mill Owners Union set the
price for threshing from stack
- by contract 4½d per bushel for oats, 5¼d per bushel for wheat or barley
- by the hour- 37s 6d.
Threshing from the stook
- by contact 4½d per bushel for oats, 5½d per bushel for wheat and barley.
-by the hour 40s.When threshing by the hour time commenced from when the mill started the first set on each farm, or from the time starting in the morning, and continued during all hours worked, including the time for shifting from stack to stack and ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the afternoon for lunch, but did not include the additional 5 minutes allowed for each lunch or the 50 minutes allowed for dinner or any time for repairs or other unavoidable causes, or time occupied from shifting from farm to farm. When the Mill's owner waterman could not supply water in sufficient quantities to the Mill, the farmer was expected to arrange for any additional supply required.
Evening Post, 9 March 1878, Page 2
9th March. About eight o'clock this morning, David M'Cracken, a prisoner just sentenced to six months' imprisonment at the criminal sessions of the District Court, for larceny, while working in the hard labor gang, at the west town belt, bolted during the temporary absence of one of the warders. The police, after scouring the outskirts, recaptured him. He was hiding in a haystack on Wilson's farm, behind the Timaru Public Schools.
Wanganui Chronicle, 21 January 1881, Page 2
Timaru. January 20. Two swagsmen, named Commisky and Egan, have been arrested and remanded till Monday, on a charge of burning a haystack at Gosling's farm, Mount Horrible.
Haymaking 1930s. Teams of draught horses were generally for farm work. Ploughing, discing, harrowing, sewing & rolling. A team of four was generally the norm, Mostly four abreast but for ploughing a three-one configuration. Some other tasks would use one or two. Mowing, raking, tumble sweeping, tedding, etc. I have fond memories of working with a mixed four horse team with one gentle giant Clydesdale gelding 'Pete' and a sassy Mare called 'Dolly" who led me a wild journey around the hay paddock the first time I was in charge of the rake. She got faster and faster until the only way I could get control was leave the tines down. The rest of the crew were roaring their heads off by the baler. The gear had names we never hear now; swingle trees, breachings, blinkers, hames, snig chains (for snigging) hauling logs from plantation, to name a few. Once drove a Massey-Ferguson reaper Binder but not horse drawn rather a 10HP Caterpillar tractor, thank goodness, it was a busy enough task without having to handle a pair of draft horses. J.S. (ex Fairlie) June 2015
Taken from the supplement to the Weekly News 12 March 1941 p32
The scene is a Burrell Engine and a Threshing mill all setup to start the day's threshing. The engine driver calls out to the feeder who is standing on top of of the mill with his sharp knife ready to cut the first sheaf of the day. So.. the call goes out across the considerable distance between the two. "Are yee reet Jock? Aye, Weel stand cleer e Mull man." J.S.
Press, 25 February 1933, Page 13
Copper, copper, and gold, and browned,
The fields of wheat are ripe and ready;
The oaten crops are silver-crowned,
And their shining wands are copper-ruddy.
Hurry, hurry, for autumn turns
Back to winter, and will not tarry;
Plentiful treasure to fill the barns,
And fill up the sacks, come, cut and carry.
Flutter, flutter your wheeling staves,
Reapers and binders; clatter and babble,
Bow down the swaths, and bundle the sheaves,
And line them along the honeycomb stubble.
Pretty! pretty the tawny stooks,
Nattily tilted. Sunlit at even,
They might be the tents of Michael's troops
Pitched in the shining""*fields of heaven.
Rumble, rumble, labouring wheels,
To and fro; now, up and tumble
The tidy bunches, then, heel to heels,
Crown to crowns, stack up stout castle.
Tower, tower, high threshing-flail;
Humming engine, it is your hour;
Feed the hopper, and hoard the spoil,
Heap the straw to a golden bower.
Chatter, chatter, you sparrow-tribes,
Squabble and scatter, pick and prattle;
Carol, larks, to tbe friendly skies;
Grasshopper, twirl your silver rattle.
Follow, follow, you gulls from the sea,
With joyful screams that sound like sorrow;
Ploughing's begun in the fields on the lea,
Follow the team, and rifle the furrow.
Copper, copper, and silver, and gold
Shorn away now, and the fields forsaken;
Bountiful treasure, measured and told,
Carried away, and sold for a token.... by E.H.