NHMA Rally, Fairbridge Village WA - by Rodney Thomas (November 2011)

Hello to everybody.
As some of you heard, I borrowed a range of Howard Rotavators to display at the vintage machinery rally at Fairbridge in September 2011, being the National Historic Machinery Association Rally.
I thought it would be lacking if Howard was not represented in some way. The ultimate aim was to have one of every common model to show the variety made.With much cooperation from many hoe owners this nearly happened. Unfortunately I bit off far more than I could chew, and I was not able to pick up the three big machines: an 8, a 12, and a 2000.
Some owners visited the rally, but none were able to assist with transport. None of the DH22's I contacted were able to come, but one, minus hoe, turned up with another group. I did, however, have some "others" which added to the variety.

List of machines:
Old Junior
Eight motor off military genset
Junior reverse gear
Gem "representative" mk3 frame with late mk4 motor
Terrier with modern motor
Clifford 1948
Landmaster mk2 (Kestrel)
Furrower possibly a Morris Cultivator according to a visitor with same.
They were packed together to cover with tarp overnight.

A restored DH22 was in another compound only 100m away, but I never knew it was there until pack up time. Next to me was a collection of 4 Gravelys, and another one joined us on Saturday. Scattered in other places, were a single wheel, very old Gravely, a nicely restored Landmaster, a British Anzani, a Rototiller, a Briggs and Stratton powered 60s or 70s tiller with an old lawnmower. There may have been others in the main stationary engine compounds. Some items had packed up and left by the time I got to look around late Sunday afternoon.

I met many other hoe owners, heard lots of stories and info, hope I remember some of it...
While the people with the most machines were from the east, there are still a lot of Howards in WA, both in collections and in use. 4 local (WA) people I met had just recently done a lot of work rebuilding their machines, very pleasing to know.

One person offered me a broken Terrier and half a Junior at a reasonable price. So I can now claim to own a Howard of my own :) just need to apply elbow grease :(

Can't help thinking next step is try again at local Tracmach Field Day - First Saturday in May. We all get our tractors out and plough a small paddock, then plant it using vintage machines of all descriptions. Some vintage cars, trucks, motorbikes, stationary engines and other items also turn up and for a low key, mostly local show, it is very interesting.

Last year the Gravelys were on show, and a Howard 2000 joined in the tractor drive-by parade. Been an observer last 2 years, if the Terrier can be fixed I might be able to join in. Probably it will take me more than that to get it fully operational. Without the large travel costs, and with more assistance from local owners, I might be able to organise a similar line up of Albany / Denmark machines.

I had a great time being part of the Rally, and from what I hear, most others did also. The Rally was a great display both in numbers of exhibits and variety of items shown. It has been said before, but it needs saying again: A HUGE THANK YOU to all the other exhibitors, the rally organisers, and the volunteer helpers. Especially I thank the many who brought their machines and displays over from eastern States.