30 August, 2020
Man mad keen on vintage machines
Dale's driven to collect equipment that's part of our Aussie heritage
YOU WILL have heard of John Howard, the 25th Prime Minister of Australia. You will have probably also heard of Ron Howard, the Academy Award-winning director and star of the hit TV series Happy Days.
But have you heard of Cliff Howard? There’s a man who lives in Goovigen who knows an awful lot about this particular Howard, and his name is Dale Warry.
So who is Cliff Howard and why does Dale know so much about him?
Well, Arthur Clifford Howard (1893-1971) was a pioneering Australian who invented the rotary hoe and whose tractors and other machinery were built and sold in Australia for decades.
Dale’s passion about the man and his tractors all started 15 years ago with the 1949 Howard DH 22.
A dedicated machinery enthusiast and collector, Dale was searching for a Fordson tractor on the internet one day and instead discovered this Howard tractor. “I’m mad keen on Australian-built stuff,” Dale said, “ and Howard could build just about anything you needed a machine for.” And so Dale bought the DH 22. The crank-start tractor hadn’t run in 30-odd years, but Dale “tinkered around with her and got her running”.
That day his passion for Howard farming equipment was also crank-started and has grown over the years, along with his amazing collection of machinery on display at his half-acre property in Goovigen.
His collection has become quite the tourist at- traction in the district, with busloads of visitors arriving from nearby machinery rallies as well as people just passing by.
“We quite often end up with a yard full of grey nomads looking around,” Dale said.
Dale also has one of Howard’s first Australian-built tractors from the 1930s, as well as the DH 226 - the last model Howard ever made, which was “getting pretty modern with electric start, headlights and a padded seat,” Dale said.
His collection also includes an incredible range of farming equipment and other machines including the three-wheeled Howard hauler used in orchards and for baggage collection at airports, various Ferguson tractors, a pumpkin seed- er, a corn thresher, vintage toys, and a wall dedicated to Warry family history with dehorners and original calf brands belonging to his family of farmers and camp-drafters.
But Dale’s most prized possession is the truck that once belonged to his parents.
“Dad and Mum bought it new in 1968 to cart cream,” Dale said. “It spent its whole life carting cream, fuel and railway freight. It also carted grain and cattle.”
The Toyota truck was traded in in 1989, but over the years Dale yearned to get it back for his family. He spent nearly 10 years trying to track it down, placing ads in newspapers, and then finally found it, only to discover the owner was not ready to part with it just then.
Five years went by and then out of the blue, the Warry family got a call: “I’m the bloke with your white Toyota. I’m selling up. If you want it, you better come and get it.”
Needless to say, Dale was thrilled to be reunited with that special truck.
“It was unbelievable getting it back again,” Dale said. “It was better than winning the Lotto.”
As well as the excitement of tracking down that trea- sured Toyota truck, Dale gets a thrill from discovering his precious Howard machines scattered through- out the country.
He’s added a Massey Ferguson hay bale loader, found on the banks of Kroombit Creek, to his collection, and he’s travelled as far as Parkes, in New South Wales, to hunt down a 1940s push mower.
“Half the fun is trying to find them,” Dale said.
Dale’s family has also caught the collecting bug with his daughter, Romanah, starting her own tractor collection. She’s clearly keen on the machines, with Dale taking her to her Yr 12 formal on a diesel Ferguson tractor.
The machines in Dale’s collection are not just there for display either. Some still serve a practical purpose once he can source the necessary parts and get them up and running again.
“What we don’t make ourselves, a rep can come up with,” Dale said. “Some parts are still around. A lot of early Holden engine parts available will fit the Howard engines.”
So every now and then Dale will use one of his machines to dig up a patch in the yard or to help a neighbour level some ground.
He also loves attending rallies with his vintage machines, but as a doting Grandad, he’s also just as happy having his grandchildren, Oliver, 3, and Imogen, 2, snuggled up to him on either side of the steering wheel on one of his many machines at home.