2022-08-08 07:43:44 By : Mr. Ice Zhou

Rare K'gari (Fraser Island) relic returns to mainland 89 years after production

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One of K'gari's (Fraser Island's) iconic relics has been returned to the mainland and put on display at its new home in Hervey Bay.

The 89-year-old Caterpillar Diesel Thirty-Five crawler tractor was unveiled at the Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum today.

Only 1,999 of the Cat 35s were manufactured in the early 1930s.

At the time of production, it was the first machine to don the iconic 'caterpillar high-way yellow' paint schemes and it's believed to have been the second diesel offering from the manufacturer.

President Greg Jacobsen said the machine would become a showpiece at the village.

"It spent all its life hauling logs from Urang Creek to Garry's Anchorage area," he said.

"It was retired in 1964 and after a restoration it was handed over to the forestry department in 1994.

"It's been on display up until recently at Central Station."

All five tonnes of the Cat 35 were floated up to K'gari from Brisbane by Richard Smith in 1935, where he began logging trees with his employee and eventual successor Andrew Postan, Senior, who bought the business in 1940.

Mr Postan became the sole logging contractor on the Island and continued harvesting trees with the Cat 35.

Nearly 90 years on, volunteers at the Historical Village and Museum say the piece of machinery holds significant heritage value.

Mr Jacobsen said they were very fortunate to become the beneficiary and custodian of the machine.

"At the time of production, it was probably a step up from the alternative which was probably ox wagons or logging trucks,"

"They would have thought that it was very innovative in the 30s and being a Caterpillar, it's just gone on and on.

"Our aim is to bring that back up to working condition. We're critically short on two major components – magneto and a carby off the little pilot motor that goes on the machine to start the big diesel motor.

"But we will source those and once we do we'll have that machine up and running.

"It will be a little project but we're determined to get it up and running."

Historical Village and the Museum volunteer Dennis Ross-Jones said the restoration of the machine could take time.

"It was used for logging up until 1964 when logging ceased on K'gari," he said.

"The trouble is it's been sitting there for 40-odd years and it's starting to rust and falling apart.

"One of the things that was happening was the creek water went into it and there is a lot of sand in the creek water,

"There is fine sand that's in the motor so we've got to flush all that out.

"Queensland Parks and Wildlife have given it to us with the idea that we will get it going and keep it going.

"It was a struggle to get it across from the Island without damaging anything.

"At least its here now and we can look after it and keep it for future generations."

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work.

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