Big wheels keep on turning

Tractor restorer Ron Waterhouse. Picture: Bruce Hunt d424268
Tractor restorer Ron Waterhouse. Picture: Bruce Hunt d424268

Having spent his early life on the machines, Mr Waterhouse picked up a wealth of self-learned mechanical engineering knowledge.

A book of his mechanical projects and inventions over the past 50 years is testament to his inventive spirit.

Now 80 and a resident of Parkerville, Mr Waterhouse applies his farming ingenuity to repairing old tractors at the Whiteman Park tractor museum.

He has been a volunteer at The Tractor Museum of WA for five years and says he will keep restoring tractors as long as he can.

However, Mr Waterhouse, along with the 15 other volunteers at the museum, are starting to advance in their years and are hoping for a few younger, extra sets of hands to help them in their work.

‘Most of us are getting on a bit now and are not as active as we would like, so we need a few younger chaps,’ he said.

‘I’ve gone from doing a lot of the physical work to the intellectual work now.

‘I’ll go on as long as I can ” I get in trouble from my wife because I’m never around but it’s given me a good outlet and something to do. I’ll never get sick of tractors.’

It takes about six months to bring a retired tractor from rusty to rosy and museum-ready.

‘We strip them right back, take the wheels off, take all the tin work off and straighten it up and clean them up,’ Mr Waterhouse said.

‘Then we can prime them and put them all back together to put the finishing touches like decals on ” they come up looking just like new again.’

The Tractor Museum of WA is home to 70 classic tractors, including some one-of-a-kind WA farmer creations such as a 14-wheel machine made from piecing together three McCormick-Deering Super WD-9 tractors.

It was manufactured by another Goomalling farmer in the 1970s to avoid having to purchase a four-wheel-drive tractor.

The museum would like to see a new generation of volunteers come forward to help.

It can use volunteers with interests in general restoration to other skills in computers or research.

Contact or call Mr Waterhouse on 0437 112 234.