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09-April-2021 (Stephen Warren)
09-April-2021 (Stephen Warren)

Photographs supplied by Roger Johnson / Stephen Warren

The bust commemorates John Ridley (1806 - 1887) who was the inventor of the Ridley Stripper which was one of South Australia`s first inventions. It was the world`s first mechanical grain harvester.

This invention speeded up the reaping process on the farm and reduced the number of labourers needed to harvest the crop. The machine, which has been modified and improved many times, was produced in South Australia and exported to many of the other colonies and even overseas.  An argument has continued ever since about the name of the inventor. Some assume that it was J.B. Bull whereas others are convinced that it was John Ridley. Early in 1843 models and drawings of reaping machines were submitted by Ridley, Cotter, J.W.Bull and several others.

Ridley produced his machine at his Hindmarsh workshop in 1843 just in time for the coming harvest.  Within seven days it reaped and threshed more than seventy acres. It stripped the grain from the stalks and threshed them to separate the grain from the ears. In February 1844, the South Australian Agricultural and Horticultural Society awarded John Ridley its prize, of ten Pounds and ten shillings, which was presented to him by the Governor.

An interesting ceremony was performed at the Roseworthy Agricultural College on Friday afternoon, in the presence of a fairly large gathering, on the occasion of the annual distribution of prizes to the successful students of that institution. The Principal of the College (Professor A..J. Perkins), as President of the Old Collegians` Association, stated that the  association had for some time past had the question under consideration as to what it could do to perpetuate the memory of the late John Ridley, to whose invention and skill they owed a good deal of the agricultural prosperity of the State. If it had not been for Mr. Ridley and his labour-saving machinery we would probably remained more or less a pastoral community. The association thought that the erection of a memorial to Mr. Ridley at the Roseworthy Agricultural College would appeal to the agricultural community but unfortunately the Commonwealth had a short memory, and it took a very strong knife to prise open the purses of those who were well off. Out of 103 subscription cards sent out to the various Agricultural Bureaus only 24 had been returned, while only 14 brought subscriptions totalling in all but £15.  At first they had thought of erecting a full size statue but they had ultimately come down to the more modest bust on a granite pedestal.
The Mail (Adelaide), 15 March 1913.


Address:Spurling Circle, Roseworthy College, Roseworthy, 5371
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.528741
Long: 138.688313
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 14th March, 1913
Front Inscription

John Ridley

1806 - 1887 

Inventor of the Stripper



Left Side Inscription


Back Inscription

Erected by the Old Collegians Association with the help of friend`s.

March 1913.


Right Side Inscription


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