‘Buried treasure’being restored

Tract ’em down . . . Owaka Valley neighbours Lawrence Dalley (left) and Stu Dreaver recently dug out Farmall tractors more than 50 years old out of overgrown trees from Mr Dreaver's grandfather's era to restore. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

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Locals are bringing old tractors back to their former glory to reminisce about the good old days.

Owaka Valley neighbours Stu Dreaver and Lawrence Dalley recently set to work chopping tree branches that had overgrown into two of the Dreaver’s old Farmall tractors where they had been sitting for more than 50 years.

Mr Dreaver described the tractors as ‘‘buried treasure’’.

They were used to evolve progression on his family›inherited farm during his grandfather’s time owning the land, and Mr Dalley is committed to completely restoring the tractors in his own time.

‘‘From working the land with his horses to switching to these kerosene› run beauties must have been a massive change in the development and production of our farm,’’ Mr Dreaver said.

‘‘In around 1943 there was a shortage of petrol due to World War 2, so conversion to kerosene was common. It definitely wasn’t as efficient though,’’ he joked.

The 40›horsepower Farmalls, one British›made and one American, were used for crops, scuffing weeds and feeding out, along with other ventures.

‘‘You had to crank›start these ones. They can have an electric start with a six›volt battery too, but they don’t need it to get them going,’’ Mr Dreaver said.

He said scrap metal took a lot of the tractors years ago, but he was happy to still have these ones under the trees.

‘‘They should be relatively easy to fix if the engine isn’t completely seized up. It’ll have a hard and crusted carburetor but nothing I won’t be able tohandle’’ Mr Dalley said.

Mr Dreaver reminisced about his experiences with the tractors when he was a child.

‘‘I remember Dad painted one of the tractors green because John Deere tractors were way too expensive at the time, so we just made our own version.’’

‘‘Back in the day we used to feed out hay to the cows and be jumping on and off the tractors on your own . . .’’

‘‘I know my grandfather would be pretty proud that we’re restoring these and not just keeping them tucked away to rust,’’ Mr Dreaver said.

‘‘Everywhere you go around the district there’s always an old rusted tractor in a shed, out in a paddock or under some trees, so we’re going to give it a go to bring them back to what they once were.’’