The Warrah header salvage.

By Geoff Barwick.



One of the very first pages to go onto this website was a photo album of sunshine headers. I knew there was lots in the area, old sunshine headers that had harvested lots of wheat and other crops, and had been left, abandoned in the paddock where they were last used when they were replaced by some newer, bigger machine.


From the Warrah creek road, I could see some old headers on the "Graham" block. Block 42 of the 1912 subdivision, property name "Wareena". Bought by Ray Graham in 1912. It was later sold to John Swain, and then Albert Allen. It is now owned by David Doberer, from the Cessnock area.


I sent my father, Neil in to get the photos. A few phone calls to find out who owned the property, and how and when to go in, and he had it sorted. He was pretty excited when he told me of the treasure trove of old machinery that was there.

 3 old headers, and a heap of old ploughs and farm implements. One header was a sunshine HST, ground driven, one an old International, PTO driven, and the last one was some type of old header we'd never seen or heard of before, that had been ground driven, but later converted to PTO drive. All 3 headers were pre-bulk handling. The inter had rubber tires, but the smaller older two were steel wheels.


I put the photos onto the photo album, and that was that for a while. But after more and more researching for this website, it became obvious that the old headers were possibly the ones in some old famous header photos taken by 'THE LAND' rural news paper 75 years ago.

The 3 old headers. A sunshine HST, an inter, and furthest away, a Gaston lite draught.
The old house of the Graham family on block 42 of the 1912 subdivision, bought by Ray Graham in 1912.

I took Gwen and Dallas Cone there for a look to see if they could confirm the headers belonged to the Maunders. Gwen Cone is Billy Maunders daughter. It was so long ago that Gwen wasn't able to be sure.

Gwen Cone, sitting on the drivers seat of the sunshine HST header, that was possibly was owned and operated by her father, Billy Maunder. The little header is in remarkably good condition, thanks to a shed that was over it until it fell down a fair few years ago.

This is the photo of Billy and his son Neville Maunder, harvesting wheat on the property "Alroy" in the late 1930's. As Billy was born in 1891, he would have been in his late 40's at the time. Billy is in the drivers seat on the right, and his son, and Gwen Cones older brother Neville is on the left.

The other 'THE LAND' photo has George Maunder driving a horse pulled 'Gaston lite draught' header. These headers were, like the sunshines, Australian made, the Gaston being manufactured in Kensington, Victoria. The sunshine headers were manufactured in 'Sunshine', a suburb of Melbourne named after the machinery company. But unlike the sunshine headers, the Gastons are very rare. They are not scattered about the country side under trees like the sunshine headers. Most people have never seen or heard of one.


The photo of George Maunder and the Gaston lite draught.

Billy and George Maunder share farmed on Warrah station. They share farmed for and with the Graham family. The other header in the photo of the 3 old headers, the inter, was also used by the Grahams and George Maunder, and is remembered being used on Warrah Station when the Grahams and George Maunder were share farming there. The headers are almost certainly the ones in the old photos.


Or if not, they are headers from the Warrah area anyway? Hopeing to get some info about them at the centenary? Does anyone know about these headers?



We decided they are too important to be left to rot away and fall to pieces in a paddock. With Earl and Ken Kelaher, and some help from Steve Elford, Dallas Cone and Kris Oats, we went and salvaged two of these old headers, the two oldest ones that were in the photos, and they will be on display at the centenary, and hopefully kept under cover, protected from the weather for years to come.

Working out our stategy in the machinery graveyard.
Lifting the sunshine HST.
Back the truck under, simple.
The Gaston. You can clearly see the PTO drive. This would have been bought as a kit, and added to the header. Then the cogs were removed that get the drive from the drive wheel. This was done to lots of headers when tractors were introduced. The sunshine is still a ground drive.
Same procedure for the Gaston lite draught.

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24.09 | 23:36

Absolutely delighted to come across a part of my direct ancestors history about which I knew very little and shall endeavour to find out more
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23.09 | 12:23

Very interesting Kelaher family history. Impressive number of trained nursing sisters. Jack lent the Copelands a cream horse, Playboy, in 1950's, ridden by Kate

09.09 | 07:58

Wonderfully informative. Thank goodness for Jane and John Atchison's work