Walk down memory lane

HUNDREDS of Tasmanians ventured into the southern Midlands last weekend to see some of the state’s unique farming history.

The Heritage and Bullock Festival at Oatlands attracted a large crowd over two days despite some extremely windy conditions on Sunday.

The festival has become a highlight for many locals and a chance for the town’s businesses to showcase their products.

After being cancelled last year due to COVID, organisers were determined to be back this year with an even bigger and better event.

As well as onsite displays centred around the historic Callington flour mill, the festival includes a daily street parade.

Taking part were vintage machinery enthusiasts and Oatland locals Nigel Fish and his father Roger Fish.

They took part in the parade with their Marshall and Sons compound traction engine. Powered by steam, the engine was built in 1907.

The family bought it in 2018 from the previous owners at Lower Barrington. Nigel, a fitter and turner by trade, has spent about 3000 to 4000 hours on restoring the engine and said he still had a bit to do.

The 8hp engine has a top speed of three miles an hour. Getting the engine hot enough to operate means burning through about a tonne of wood.

“It takes about three hours to start from cold,” Nigel said.
“The old hands wouldn’t let them go out once they were going because it took so long to get them started again.”

The engine was primarily used for road haulage and stone crushing.

Nigel said they liked to bring the engine out as much as possible.

“A lot of people haven’t seen one operating, so that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Another highlight of the festival was Brian Fish and his team of bullocks.

Despite having a break from events due to COVID, Mr Fish said the team had performed well.

“I’ve got a few younger bullocks in this time but they’re going pretty well,” he said.

Other traditional displays included blacksmithing, heavy horses, leather work and an onsite sheep auction.

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