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Bratten Plough
Bratten Plough

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The memorial is a small replica of a Bratten Plough, commemorating the Brattenising system of road-making originated by Robert Bratten, Overseer of Works for the District Council of Tumby Bay.

Robert Bratten came to Australia from Ireland at the age of 20 years. He was appointed to the position of Overseer, in 1906 when the council received many petitions for new roads to be opened.   After initial surveys the first roads had to be made through scrub areas which were manually cleared, just tracks. Originally roads were macadamised by breaking big stones with a hammer until they were small enough to pass through a 2.5 inch ring.

This sufficed until motor cars required stronger surface for speed and weight. Big sheet limestone was a problem so a special plough was designed to plough the stones to the surface, the larger ones disposed of, and the smaller ones curshed and used. First the road was formed by the grader and then rolled with a heavy roller. Geoff Ferguson patented the beams and slides that held the plough upright E.E. Excell and and Sons with A.W. Carr made a patented complete plough with beam and wheels, which made the plough more suitable for heavy work and transporting, with the capability of being towed by a tractor instead of horse drawn.

This method was called Brattenising, this method of road making enabled a wide road to be made, especially in limestone country. Wide use of this system was introduced in various parts of the state, such as the Murray Mallee and Yorke Peninsula.

A plow, the invention of Mr. R. Bratten, overseer of works in the District of Tumby Bay, West Coast, S.A., became so wonderful in certain road construction, that its inventor became famous and the work done is now titled 'Brattenising.' The plow is now being used in all parts of the world. The West Coast district decided to honor the inventor, and last week a memorial was unveiled on the foreshore of Tumby Bay, the ceremony being performed by Mr. D. V. Fleming, Commissioner of Highways. The patentee of the plow is a Mr. Fergusson, but he wrote a letter to the gathering giving all honor to the true inventor the overseer. The memorial made of granite plinth and stones garnered from roads in differents parts of the district, is surmounted by a huge boulder, the whole measuring 12 x 8 x 4, whilst right on top is a miniature of the plow.

The monument reads — Erected by members and officers of the District Councils of Eyre Peninsula and the Murray Lands as a mark of appreciation of the valued services rendered to the community by Mr. Robert Bratten, Overseer of Works in the District Council of Tumby Bay in inaugurating the brattenising system of road making. The inventor was presented with Mr. Fergusson's letter also several autographed and bound volumes, dealing with road work in the various States.
Bunyip (Gawler, SA), 12 October 1934.




Address:Tumby Terrace, Tumby Bay, 5605
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.376208
Long: 136.10338
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Tuesday 2nd October, 1934
Front Inscription

Erected By Members And Officers Of
District Councils On Eyre Peninsula And The
Murray Lands As A Mark Of Appreciation Of The
Valued Services Rendered To The Community By
    Robert Bratten
Overseer Of Works District Of Tumby Bay
In Originating The Brattenising System
Of Road Making.
Unveiled By D.V Fleming M.I.E Aust
Commissioner of Highways
2nd October 1934

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au