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Massey-Ferguson Tractor Closeup : 24-December-2010
Massey-Ferguson Tractor Closeup : 24-December-2010

Photographs supplied by Roger Johnson

The cairn commemorates the epic fight of the people and the role of the Massey-Ferguson tractor in the saving of the town from the record flood of 1956. The flood is celebrated every five years in the `Festival of the Flood'. It is the world`s first monument to a tractor.

The cairns of stones where the monument sits is set at the height of the water that would have inundated the town had not the clay levee banks been put in place. “By God and by Fergie we beat the Flood!”

The ’little grey’ Ferguson tractor wrote itself into the annals of local history through the integral part it played in saving Wentworth from the 1956 floods. Flood waters raced towards Wentworth via both the Darling and Murray rivers, resulting in a third of Wentworth going under water. Wentworth became an island in an inland sea. The tenacious will of the Wentworth people saw them stay and fight to save their town from ruin when all authorities were urging them to evacuate.

The small Ferguson tractors were prevalent in the area at the time and prove superior to other machinery as they were light, manoeuverable, coped well with the sticky, slippery clay of the levee banks and posed little danger of collapsing them. During the floods the roar of the little Fergies could be heard 24 hours a day as volunteers patched and built crumbling and new levee banks to fortify Wentworth from the rising waters.

A brass replica of the world - famous Ferguson tractor stands on a memorial cairn in the town of Wentworth, in south-western New South Wales. The cairn jointly commemorates the epic fight of the people of Wentworth and district during the record 1956 floods and the magnificent service given by Ferguson tractors and implements in saving the township from complete inundation. The memorial was officially unveiled by Mr. L. T. Ritchie, Managing Director of Massey Ferguson (Australia) Limited, during celebrations marking the centenary of the proclamation of the town of Wentworth. The Ferguson tractor memorial was the brainchild of Mr. Fred Barrett, Manager of the Water & Irrigation Commission at Curlwaa, N.S.W.

When this memorial to the people who fought the floods was first discussed, it was Mr. Barrett who reminded civic leaders of the very important part played by Ferguson tractors and implements during that crisis. Thus the memorial cairn was erected and Massey - Ferguson were asked whether they would like to provide the tractor replica. They agreed unhesitatingly. Naturally the tractor model was not complete without the Ferguson earth scoop — the implement which built levee banks to thwart the swollen waters, at the junction of the Darling and Murray Rivers, which harassed the township and its inhabitants. The tractor and a commemorative plaque were made at Massey-Ferguson's Sunshine plant, near Melbourne. 
Western Herald (Bourke, NSW), 12 June 1959.


Address:Adelaide & Adams Streets, Wentworth, 2648
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.108422
Long: 141.918143
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Disaster
Approx. Event Start Date:1956
Approx. Event End Date:1956
Monument Manufacturer:Massey-Ferguson (tractor & plaque)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 20th April, 1959
Front Inscription

This cairn was unveiled on April 20th,1959 by Mr. L.T. Ritchie, Managing Director of Massey-Ferguson (Australia) Limited,

To commemorate the epic fight by the people of Wentworth and District against the record flood of 1956 and the major part  played by Ferguson tractors and implements in saving the town from complete inundation.

E. W. Whyte              C. W. Ryder 
(Shire President)       (Shire Clerk)

Wentworth Centenary Celebrations

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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