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Old farm cars

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

We didn't always have a farm car. My father leased our farm between 1925 and 1975. It was about 12 miles from the nearest town, so transport was always a key consideration for him.

When he first took up the lease, he was just a young man, just 24 years old, and working with his brother in a grocery shop. He didn't have a lot of money, and rode his horse to and from the farm. He married my mother in 1927, and somewhere around 1930, bought his first car. This was a dozen years before I was born, so I never saw it, but was always told it was a 1927 chevrolet. In fact, the ownership was shared with Dad's brother, who also shared the lease of the farm at that date.

I think Dad bought out his brother's share of the car in the mid-1930s. Around the same time, the state government split the lease of the farm into two, with Dad taking one half, and his brother the other. I believe Dad must have driven this same farm car for the duration of World War II, but I guess, with petrol restrictions, it did not get much use. I know Dad went back to using draft horses on the farm, instead of his early tractor.

The cloth-hood chev. was replaced sometime in the 1940s. By 1946, Mum photographed me as a toddler, in front of Dad's 'new' farm car, this time a 1932 Chev. Dad was proud of that car, and drove it until the mid-1950s. I was very fond of it, too, and shed a few tears when he replaced it with a later model. I dreamt of it later, driving away into the distance, leaving me lost and alone on the side of a strange road.

The new car was a 1952 chev. It was sleek and comfortable and BIG. In fact it was too long for the car shed built years before. At least a metre of the car projected out the back of the shed. Dad's solution was to build a sort of 'bay window' at the front of the shed, so the nose of the car was protecting beyond the original front wall. This meant he drove the car further into the shed, and the back of the car was also protected.

I believe this type of car was unusual in Australia. I never saw another like it. I know I identified it when it drove past my boarding school, nearly 200 km from the farm, even though I was not expecting it. I have only once heard of another like it in Australia.

Those were the 'good' cars on the farm. But there was always a true 'farm' car as well. This was a succession of ford or chev. utility vehicles, used in a multitude of ways to help with farm chores. They carried cream cans to be delivered to the butter factory; pigs and calves to be driven to sales; fencing tools to be used at the site of repairs; and many other chores. They even replaced horses, when Dad wanted to check the animals in distant paddocks. He drove them throughout the farm, so they were the ultimate 'farm cars.'

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