Stationery baler inspired model-maker

The late Les Brown of Riverston made this model of a stationary hay baler, pictured here on the Donaghys stand at the Mystery Creek Fieldays. Photo: Graham Warsnop.

The bright blue and yellow Booth & MacDonald stationary hay baler, which featured on the cover of May 2016’s Coast & Country News, has attracted a good deal of interest from readers – including Graham Worsnop of Brisbane.

Graham is not only familiar with the full-size baler, but also with a scaled down model IHC baler made by his late friend Les Brown of Riverston.

“While recently visiting family at Cambridge I saw a copy of Coast & Country News featuring the Tauranga Vintage Machinery Club article on the restored Boothmac hay baler,” he writes.

“My family operated a Boothmac 1A baler around Wellsford in the early 1940s.”

While in New Zealand, Graham got in touch with Colston Landon of Tauranga who owns the baler featured in Coast & Country News and who was among those to ‘rescue’ the historic machine from the Kaimai property where it last made hay about 60 years ago.

“I did not have time to visit Colston before my return to home in Brisbane, Queensland, but did mention to him the existence of a model IHC baler similar to the 1A.

“It was made by a friend of mine, Les Brown of Riverton, and has been for a number of years displayed, driven by an electric motor and making real miniature bales of hay, on the stand of Donaghysrope and twine at Mystery Creek Fieldays.”

The model Les made used twine to tie the bales, but originally the bales made by the full-size machine were tied with wire.

Colston believes the model is based on a full-sized International baler, and is not the same as his machine which was manufactured by Christchurch company Booth & MacDonald, probably during World War II, using whatever materials were available at the time.

Unlike more modern hay balers, it wasn’t towed around the paddock, attached to a tractor. Instead hay is bought to the machine, which is driven by a belt-drive from a tractor or stationary engine. Piles of hay are forked into the machine, which has a large arm moving up and down to compress the hay as it moves through the chamber.

Thanks to inquiries he’s received following the Coast & Country News story, Colston’s baler is to be in action at the up-coming Oropi School Gala and the Rotorua A&P Show.

“It’s great to have the baler in action and people love to watch it,” says Colston.


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