tarcutta HOPS INTO GEAR
The first stage of Tarcutta’s truck museum has opened and organisers are seeking funds to continue the project.
Truck lovers from as far as Queensland and the Northern Territory attended the official opening of the Tarcutta Transport and Farming Museum on Saturday morning, October 29.
The ceremony took place beside the attraction’s first building, a five-bay shed, which was funded by Bunny and Diana Brown of nearby Adelong, New South Wales. Bunny’s brief speech was received with enthusiastic applause.
Earlier in the year he enlisted the help of Doug and Pam McMillan of Albury, Denis Robertson of Sydney and George Goold of Bribie Island to form the Tarcutta Transport and Farming Museum, which was incorporated in June.
The honour of opening the first stage of the museum was accepted by Liz Martin, the driving force behind the successful National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs.
Liz congratulated Bunny and Diana on what they had achieved. She spoke of the difficulty she had experienced in the early days of the Alice Springs museum.
“Tarcutta is such an iconic place in road transport history. It’s one of our most famous changeovers, and it’s really appropriate that we have this museum here at Tarcutta to complement the [Australian Truck Drivers’] Memorial down the road,” she says.
About 100 people attended the opening and enjoyed the collection of restored trucks on display. Some of these have been donated to the museum and others were on loan.
Former interstate truck driver George Goold,
82, from Bribie Island, Queensland, took three Diamond Ts to the opening. He has donated one of them to the museum – a restored 1954 Diamond T 531 in Cousins’ Transport colours. George has also donated a rare 1963 Freighter adjustable bogie trailer.
This Cousins Diamond T was one of four trucks housed in the new building during the opening ceremony. Also in the shed were a 1418 Benz and International R190 on loan from the Pickles family of Albury; and a B Model Mack on loan from Riverina Crane Service.
Bunny’s trusty 1987 Western Star ‘Lone Ranger’ was parked near the shed. He says the truck will now stay at the museum. It has more than 5.5million kilometres on the clock and Bunny has driven it since it was new.
Several truck lovers attending the official opening arrived with their restored trucks which were also admired during the opening. The oldest of these — a 1929 Dodge — is owned by Jeff Johnston who was flying the Historic Commercial Vehicle Club flag.
Greg Hillier from Corryong took his restored International R190 and Swampy Millsteed of Cobram displayed a 1958 Diamond T 630.
Unrestored trucks could be seen a short stroll from the shed, including four International ACCOs, a 1948 Ford, 1934 Chev and Thames Trader.
In addition to the unrestored tractors which have been donated to the museum by local farmers, two beautifully restored Chamberlain tractors were on display during the opening. These are owned by Matthew Reeve of Tooradin, Victoria.
A collection of photographs inside the new shed included images from 1956 when trucks were forced to wait for days in Tarcutta while the Hume Highway was repaired.
The first busload of visitors arrived at the museum soon after the opening ceremony.
The Geelong Transport Drivers’ Social Club was in Tarcutta for the annual Australian Truck Drivers’ Memorial service and inspected the museum while they were in town.
The Tarcutta truck museum project has progressed slowly since it was first mooted in 2008 as a means of attracting tourists lost after the 2011 Hume Highway bypass.
By 2014 the original committee was concerned the project had lost momentum and would fail to secure local volunteers and funding. It abandoned the project and has instead proceeded with the Australian Road Transport Heritage Centre museum at Gundagai.
But Bunny believed a truck museum should be built at Tarcutta and continued lease negotiations with Wagga Wagga City Council. Only a small number of Tarcutta residents attended the opening, but Bunny says recent progress at the site has revived local interest in the project.
More trucks have been donated to the museum and Bunny says talks with potential sponsors are progressing. He is optimistic two or three more buildings will be erected over the summer.
No Wagga Wagga City Council representatives were present at the opening but Councillor
Kerry Pascoe assures Owner//Driver that council continues to support the project.
Bunny is keen to hear from caravaners who would like to stay at the museum site and
Tarcutta is such an iconic place in road transport history.
voluntarily assist with the museum – a system which has proven successful at the Alice Springs Hall of Fame.
Highway wanderers, Keith and Yvonne Nunn of Queensland, stayed at the site in their motorhome for a week during October, and helped construct a section of the front fence.
While the museum does not yet have official opening hours, Bunny invites travellers to call in to Tarcutta to see if the museum gates are open. He plans to spend much of his time there working on the museum and will happily welcome visitors.
For up-to-date information, visit the Tarcutta Transport and Farming Museum Facebook group.
Anyone wishing to assist the committee or to donate exhibits can phone Bunny on 0438 072 494 or Doug on 0407 835 115.
Financial donations can be deposited into the museum’s bank account: name – Tarcutta Museum; BSB – 082 406; Account number – 63661 3179.
1. Opening the museum, Liz Martin says the new Tarcutta attraction has the
support of the Australian Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs 2. Bunny Brown persisted with plans to build a truck museum at Tarcutta
after a local committee abandoned the idea
3. Doug McMillan (pictured) is among the industry leaders enlisted by
Bunny to advance the project
4. Bunny Brown, George Goold, Diana Brown, Denis Robertson, Liz Martin,
Pam McMillan and Doug McMillan in front of the museum’s first building 5. Jeff Johnston carted his 1929 Dodge from Melbourne behind his Volvo 6. Swampy Millsteed (right) took his 1958 Diamond T 630 to the opening.
The truck was previously owned by Denis Robertson (left)
7. Greg Hillier drove his family’s International R190 from Corryong, Victoria 8. George Goold’s 1954 Diamond T 531 has been donated to the Tarcutta
museum. The truck is painted in Cousins’ Transport colours
9. Bunny and Diana Brown with their Western Star
10. A restored 1954 Diamond T 531 in Cousins’ Transport colours
11. Bette Phillips, Doug Weedon, Sandra Mason and Liz Martin explore the
11. An International R190 on loan
from the Pickles family of Albury 12. A B Model Mack on loan from Riverina Crane Service was on display inside the new shed
13. Jeff Johnston behind the wheel
of his 1929 Dodge
14. A 1418 Benz on loan from the
15. George Goold watches two of his Diamond Ts leave the museum grounds