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Senator Ron Boswell today announced that the Federal Government would give $32,000 funding to preserve a pre-World War One tractor which was instrumental in the development of Queensland’s sugar industry.

“The Federal Government has recognised the great cultural significance of this tractor,” Senator Boswell said.

“Not only are we are assisting the sugar industry to preserve its heritage, we are also working with growers towards safeguarding the sugar industry’s future.

“The National/Liberal Coalition at a State and Federal level supports the sugar industry, understands the industry and knows the importance of the sugar industry to the regional communities of North Queensland.

“The preservation of this tractor is a symbol of that support.”

“The tractor is of special significance for the people of north Queensland and is one of the earliest examples of the transition to a mechanised agricultural industry,” Senator Boswell said.

“The funding will assist the Australian Sugar Museum at Innisfail, north Queensland, to acquire the only surviving example of a Marshal “Colonial” 2-cylinder single speed Class C model which has a documented history involving its use in the cultivation of agricultural crops.

“It was the first internal combustion tractor in the Burdekin district, imported in 1913 by the Drysdale brothers. The brothers were highly influential in the history of the Burdekin sugar industry, pioneering new mills and cane lands in an area that is now Australia’s premier sugar growing region.

“The tractor has added significance through its association with Pioneer Sugar Estates, which are now owned by CSR Ltd, and which were originally managed by the Drysdale brothers and its association with the Delta Iron Works at Brandon, the earliest and longest running engineering works in Townsville region.

“The adaptation of the tractor’s engine for use as an air compressor was a highly creative adaptation of imported technology to meet a specific local shortage of suitable purpose-designed equipment.”

Senator Boswell said today’s funding will ensure an important piece of Australia’s rural heritage is preserved for the benefit of present and future generations.”

In 2002 the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr Kemp, refused an application under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 for an export permit for the tractor, because of its important heritage significance.

The $32,000 funding is from the National Cultural Heritage Account, which was established by the Australian Government to assist the acquisition of important Australian heritage objects for safe-keeping and display.

Contact Senator Boswell’s Office 07 30018150