Machinery gives mix of emotions | OPINION

Machinery gives mix of emotions | OPINION


Opinion
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There is a satisfactions and soothing that comes from fixing machinery, so long as you haven't chucked the spanner against the shed wall.

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EDITORIAL

PUFFING, spluttering, hissing and clanking, they stand as a curious phenomenon at country shows and field days throughout Australia.

The vintage machinery display can still draw a crowd.

Behind the rope fence which carefully guards these meticulously restored engines, motors, pumps and whatever else has been found in a back shed somewhere, usually sit a group of gentlemen only too keen to share the story of each piece.

Generally, at least one will be dressed in full grey coveralls, ready to jump in and do some running repairs, or refill diesel tanks or water containers.

What is it about combustion machines, new or old?

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Machinery and tools help achieve an end more quickly (or at least, they're supposed to).

There is value in owning machinery. Not so much the monetary value but the symbolism of owning machinery.

For those on the land, these are the tools of the trade, and have been for a long time before smart-phones and satellites became part of the same toolbox.

The attraction could be in the definite nature of steel and iron – the fact that it either fits or it doesn't fit. (And is then made to fit with a dose of "sledge persuasion".)

In a curious way, the breakdowns are part of the joy of owning machinery, much like tantrums are part of raising children.

Still, the farm sheds are bigger versions of the backyard tinkerer's domain where the most complex tasks attempted are sharpening the mower blades and restoring garden furniture.

You grow from learning more about how to fix them and get a better appreciation for the engineering behind them.

It's a learning experience in a corrugated iron classroom. That's not always easy to remember when the bolt head gets rounded off or the pipe splits and the sun is going down.

Necessity sometimes drives the need to conjure up a replacement part from pieces of scrap at hand or perhaps taking to the metal lathe for a near-exact replica.

There is a genuine satisfaction to see the self-engineered piece do the job of the original, sometimes even better than before.

Farmers must be having similarly quiet proud moments in paddocks and sheds across the country.

This is being written by someone who doesn't rely on agricultural machinery on a daily basis so these observations could be off the mark.

Still, the farm sheds are bigger versions of the backyard tinkerer's domain where the most complex tasks attempted are sharpening the mower blades and restoring garden furniture.

There is a commonality there though; the precise feeling of a nut spinning onto a thread and the joy/relief of hearing a motor cough to life could be universal positives, no matter the scale.

Is there something soothing about working with and around machinery?

Those blokes (yep, they’re mostly blokes) standing around the antique machinery displays seem to think so.

In a world of uncertainty, the "groundedness" of farm machinery is a welcome anchor. 

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