Museum of the Riverina’s core business will always be about collecting, preserving and displaying physical objects, but an online video exhibition is bringing our collection to audiences around the world.
Talking Machines fires up the machines that transformed Australia's agricultural production across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The website presents 43 short films, showcasing some of the innovative machines made and used by farmers in the Riverina region.
Rare archival footage is combined with contemporary demonstrations to showcase the ingenious machines at work digging, cutting, shearing, sorting, harvesting and more.
The films feature interviews with people who still remember using each machine, explaining the fascinating features and backstories of each invention.
Some of the machines, such as Furphy water carts, Comet windmills and Case Tractors, are still commonly seen today. Others, like the rabbit fumigator and the horse treadmill are modern-day curiosities, having not been in common use for generations.
Eleven museums across the Riverina region contributed their machines and knowledge to the project, which gives viewers an opportunity to see their static displays come to life.
Two of the machines featured in the films are presently on display at Museum of the Riverina’s Botanic Gardens site, on Lord Baden Powell Drive.
In one, the workings of one of the oldest-surviving pieces of harvesting machinery in the Riverina, are explained. The Nicholson Combined Reaping and Mowing machine could cut a 1.2 metre-wide swathe through a paddock. Before mowing machines came along, the vast grain crops of the region were harvested by sickle.
In the other film, the locally-designed Clyde Whitlock plough is shown carving neat furrows into the soil in old footage unearthed for the project.
Every film also comes with dedicated educational resources that complement the year 9/10 (Stage 5) history curriculum. You can watch the films any time at www.talkingmachines.org.au.