The official launch of the National Agricultural Technology Museum in Yass was announced by Max Hedges, President of the Yass Antique Farm Machinery Club on Saturday at the historic homestead ‘Cliftonwood.’ The launch took place on the occasion of the club’s 21st birthday celebration attended by NSW Senator Perin Davey and Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey.

Phil Wales, Mayor Rowena Abbey, Max Hedges, NSW Senator Perin Davey, Sophie Wade and Tony Wade make up the official party at the launch of the National Agricultural Technology Museum Trust and birthday celebration for the Antique Farm Machinery Club

Max described the National Agricultural Technology Museum as “both a physical and digital museum that connects with young and old through the lens of Agricultural technology to share our rich Australian Agricultural Heritage, our skills and experience, and our comprehensive collection of restored and restorable agricultural technology”.

NSW Senator Perin Davey holding her own behind the heavy horses ploughing a field at the Museum Launch

The club is looking to provide a contemporary and modern museum experience that can be experienced in person and online.

The Yass Antique Farm Machinery Club was established in 1999 by a group of Yass locals who share a love of antique farm machinery and the restoration thereof.

This group enjoy a collective passion for the restoration of old machinery and demonstrate a diverse set of skills and an enormous breadth of knowledge in this specialist area. They share comradery and a sense of fun in ’getting things working’ that is infectious. They are well known, loved and respected across the district and beyond for their demonstrations at field days and community events.

Over the last 20 years, the Yass Antique Machinery Club have acquired a significant collection of Australian rural history that they wish to share with others – their collection tells an important story of Australian Agricultural Technology. Working together shoulder to shoulder they have also gained extensive experience in traditional craftsmanship and skills that they wish to preserve.

Over the last 12 months, the club has undertaken pre-construction activities for this initiative with funding from the Australian Government through the Community Development Grants program.

Sophie Wade, Project director said, “the club greatly appreciated the funds provided to assist them in undertaking critical pre-construction activities, prepare appropriate legal structures and undertake branding and concept design”.

Sophie described the steps taken so far. “The process was led by Eric Martin & Associates, Architects and Heritage Consultants, and that many small businesses were involved across a broad range of disciplines. This was particularly pleasing to see because the work all took place whilst COVID lockdowns were occurring, so it was great to be able to spend money with these businesses through such a difficult time.”

The National Agricultural Technology Museum is intended to operate across both physical and digital channels. Cliftonwood has been selected as the most appropriate physical site for this initiative.

The physical site having characteristics to support both the on-site museum experience and the production of digital content to support an interactive digital experience.

 

Cliftonwood is a 47ha farm located 1km on the Western outskirts of Yass beautifully situated overlooking the town with frontage to the Yass River. Cliftonwood is one of the oldest pastoral properties in Yass.

NSW Senator Perin Davey said the National Technology Agriculture Museum celebrated Australia’s rich history in agricultural innovation.

“One of the first versions of a combine harvester was developed in Australia and the evolution of this machine has transformed agriculture across the globe,” Senator Davey said.

“The Yass Farm Machinery Club passionately restores our history, and the museum will allow them to showcase their collection, their skills and their passion both physically and online.”

Yass Mayor, Rowena Abbey, also acknowledged the significant contribution this initiative will make to the district.

“This is an exciting project that brings together the passion of the Yass Antique Machinery Club and modern technology that will provide an interactive and exciting destination for visitors and locals alike”.