…Mr. S. McKay’s farm of about 300 acres at Arthurs Creek is somewhat of an experimental ground both as regards seeds and machinery, and visitors can glean a lot of information at such demonstrations.’…
Following the end of the gold rush era in Victoria, there was increased pressure to ‘unlock the lands’ held by squatters. Closer settlement was encouraged, together with the need to increase agricultural production and support population growth.
In rural areas, the local Blacksmith exercised both town and country skills. Great innovation and skill was often shown in the development and manufacture of a diverse range of agricultural equipment ‘able to meet the practical needs of local farmers’.
A significant local contribution to the mechanisation of world agriculture was the Sunshine stripper harvester patented by H.V. McKay in 1885. The prototype was assembled in a ‘bush smithy’. An agricultural implement making plant was established at Ballarat in 1888. In 1895, H.V. McKay began manufacturing stripper harvesters under the Sunshine brand name. In 1906 the business moved to ‘the neighbourhood of Braybrook’. A diverse and extensive range of equipment was subsequently manufactured at the H.V. McKay Pty. Ltd. Sunshine Harvester Works, Sunshine.
Demonstrations and trials of orchard implements were held at Mr. Samuel McKay’s farm at ‘Lomas’, Running Creek Road, Arthurs Creek. Equipment on display, on Tuesday 27 June 1922, included the Sunshine Orchard Skim Plough, Sunshine Engine Spraying Outfit, Sunshine Orchard Ploughs, and Sunshine Orchard Cultivators.
‘During the explanation of the working of the machines, the visitors were asked their opinions, so that the makers could if necessary, improve upon the design. A large staff of experts accompanies the implements at these demonstrations, so that all new ideas are embodied in fresh undertakings, and every particle is made in Australia. Mr. S. McKay’s farm of about 300 acres at Arthurs Creek is somewhat of an experimental ground both as regards seeds and machinery, and visitors can glean a lot of information at such demonstrations.’
‘Amongst those present during the afternoon were Messrs. J.A. McFarlane (Macfarlane), David Murphy, Joseph Murphy, James Murphy, R.M. Bassett, Jas. Draper, E. Lobb, J.A. Lodge, A. Steer, Geo. Murphy, H. McMillan (Macmillan), J. McDonald, and a host of others, whose names we could not procure.’
‘About 5 o’clock Mr. McKay had his visitors enjoying hot cups of tea, scones and cake, which were much relished, as the ‘gentle zephyrs’ which careered over the hills and dales that afternoon, gave one a keen desire for something for the inner man; and while that soothing duty was being attended to, the Sunshine staff were busy booking orders.’
# zephyr―soft mild gentle wind or breeze