THE community will come alive with the hisses, pops, strains and roars of old engines this weekend when it plays host to the 15th Bi-annual Riverina Vintage Machinery Club Inc Rally at Coleambally.
The Coleambally rally alternates annually with one held by the club in Leeton and this year marks the 30th anniversary of it first being held.
All manner of engines and vehicles will be on display near the entrance to the town, filling up not only the designated Vintage Park - which has permanent infrastructure designed to host the event - but expanding into Lions Park.
Held over two days on Saturday and Sunday - with Sunday being the main exhibition day - hundreds of people are expected to descend on the town to enjoy the spectacle.
Co-ordinator of the Coleambally rally David Brain has been gearing up for the event and all the organising that entails.
The rally will feature a huge range of fuel-powered mechanical engines, from those that run on petrol or diesel to those running on oil.
"We've had steam powered here before too," David said.
"Sometimes you get sewing machines, anything like that. We've had old washing machines with kick-start petrol engines.
"Anything old, including memorabilia or garagernalia.
"We've got hit and miss stationary engines. They fire, bang-bang-bang, then miss. That's how they run.
"We've got engines from about 1900 through to the 30s, old tractors, and trucks and cars, but they've got to be 30 years old."
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A crowd of more than 500 people is expected, plus participants.
"There'll be about 100 tractors, 50 to 100 engines, 30 to 40 cars or maybe more," David said.
"The Griffith Car Club usually comes out for a drive on the Sunday. There'll be trucks from Sydney and Melbourne, people from Wodonga and all over the Riverina. There's someone from the coast who brings vintage tools."
Exhibitors will be arriving from Friday afternoon and setting up in the parks on the entry to town, with the main events taking place over the next two days.
Saturday will feature a 40km tractor trek, starting at 10am
"We take about 50 tractors out for run to a farm," David said. "They'll be able to hook them up to some old ploughs if they want.
"We always go up the main street and past the old people's home.
"We'll come back in about 2.30pm and then there'll be a fun tractor pull - it's not competitive - until about 9pm."
Sunday will feature a competitive tractor pull with up to 70 vintage, unmodified tractors entered in various horsepower categories and vying for trophy prizes.
"Some blokes get serious about it and some are there just to have a bit of fun," David said.
"The weight moves along the sled so the further you go the further the weight moves forward and puts more weight on the tractor.
"We can put more water into it for a run, or take it out. We put more in for the tractors with more horsepower. From about 100hp we increase the weight."
A vintage weekend full of events
What's on at the 15th Bi-annual Riverina Vintage Machinery Club Inc Rally Coleambally?
- Vehicle trek
- Twilight tractor pull (fun)
- Main exhibition day, featuring car, truck, tractor, engine, machinery and memorabilia displays.
- Vintage tractor pull
- Starting of the Bucyrus dragline at noon and 3pm
The Bucyrus Erie dragline excavator, now located in the Lions Park at the entrance to town, was one of four imported from the USA and used to excavate the irrigation canals. After finishing the Malawa canal it was bought to Coleambally to commence the canal work in the area.
- Starting and running of a Ruston and Hornsby engine at 1.30pm
Made by Ruston and Hornsby in Lincoln, England, the static engine was used to run the irrigation pump extracting water from the Murrumbidgee River at Tubbo Station.
The engine will be started and left running. The pump it used to drive will also be on display.
Other highlights of the weekend will be the featured display items.
The feature tractor will be Deutz, the feature engine will be Cooper and the feature truck will be Kenworth.
Gate prices are $5 for adults (over 17) and $2 for pensioners with under 17s free.
There will be some food and drinks available.
A sociable club with vintage knowledge
THE Riverina Vintage Machinery Club Inc was originally formed in Narrandera and this year celebrates its 26th anniversary.
There are currently 204 members, mostly Riverina-based from places such as Jerilderie, Wagga, Hay and Griffith, but also from as far away as Collatai, in northern NSW.
Collatai hosts a tractor pull every year - although it was cancelled in 2019 due to the drought - with those members joining the Riverina club because of its experience in holding similar events.
President Tim Langley said the club holds meetings every two months in different towns.
"It means that people from that area can come along and encourages more people to get to meetings," Tim said.
"The amount of knowledge you can get off other people, everyone is happy to help," he said.
"There is a huge amount of knowledge and they are all happy to talk to you and dish it out.. There is pretty good camaraderie."
The club hosted the National Tractor Trek three years ago at Narrandera, which attracted 155 tractors from around the country over four days.
It also co-hosts the Two Rivers run with the Urana and Corowa clubs every two years.
This is a trek on back roads from the Murray to the Murrumbidgee and back, attracting 30 or 40 tractors and stopping overnight at towns along the route.
Love keeps engines going despite age
EVERY hobby can attract a huge range of enthusiasts and vintage engines and machinery are no different.
Members of the Riverina Vintage Machinery Club Inc range in interests and dedication, but one thing is for sure - they are enthusiasts about the engineering that they have been drawn to.
These members have interests in vintage and classic cars and motorbikes, tractors and machinery, trucks, steam engines and static engines, while a number have memorabilia collections, either stand alone or in conjunction with their other interest.
Club president Tim Langley said the diversity of interests can come down to personal experience.
"Most people have grown up with that machinery or had those cars, so it is a trip down memory lane for them," he said.
Coleambally rally co-ordinator and club member David Brain agrees with that assessment.
"The popularity of the machinery goes with the person's age," David said.
"For example, I like the machinery from when I was younger, they were from the 1960s when I started driving tractors."
There is also a basic mechanical aptitude that attracts people to tinkering with, building, restoring and running engines.
"It is based on people with mechanical minds, what they've grown up with and their interests," David said.