Much of what you see and experience at the Pioneer Settlement is real – real life buildings, real life tractors, real life engines. They were used throughout the Mallee and other areas of Victoria during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
To keep this equipment in the best condition possible, we have an extensive and ongoing program of conservation and restoration.
The work is always undertaken in the spirit of the Burra Charter, a document that guides professional restoration of artefacts. The result is that we have many operating objects that can demonstrate the way life was lived in the past.
Many of our restoration projects are used every day on site, while others, like our rare 1908 Saunderson Model A tractor, are only brought out for special activation days.
Our current project is a very rare Avance Tractor. Although a number have survived in Australia, ours is probably the most complete. Originally it belonged to Mr Aub Harris, who collected a number of the tractors here specifically for the Pioneer Settlement and we are not restoring it to Workshop Original condition, but rather to the condition it was in when he owned and used it.
Although our Saunderson was fully restored some ten years ago, recently we have had to completely rebuild the radiator. This consists of a large number of brazed square brass pipes, each of which had to have the old brazing removed and be cleaned by hand before being resoldered. But this was completed in 2013 meaning that we have been able to run the tractor quite regularly.