Freshfield Grove

Tales of Tasmanian Adventures in Olive Oil

My First Tractor

9 Comments

When we bought our olive grove we were lucky enough to be able to purchase a load of equipment along with it. Lots of this is olive related, like the press, and the harvesting stuff, but we also got a TRACTOR!! It is big, and I have to admit that I was more than a little apprehensive about driving it. At least I’ve always driven manual cars, so the gears are fine. Except there are ten forward gears, and two for reverse. And separate brakes for the right and left sides. And did I mention it’s big?! And apparently it’s possible to flip it somehow. Or is this an urban (rural!) myth? It still concerns me a little… But I plucked up the courage to climb up into the driving seat and turn the key. It happened to be a beautiful day for my first drive. The sun was shining, the breeze was a light whisper, the lambs were frolicking and baa-ing away in the field next door as I set off… I was hooked!

I'm a tractor driver...

I’m a tractor driver…

I began by going very slowly in a straight line. A long way away from our precious olive trees! I gradually picked up a little courage, and speed, and managed to change gear. Grinning from ear to ear. I drove happily to the far end of the pasture, and turned around and came back. I still wasn’t really going very fast, but it’s kind of hard to tell when you’re so high up! I felt as if I could have carried on for hours, but the sun was starting to set, and we thought we should get it tucked up in the shed for the night. It has to be reversed in, and although I’m a mean reverse parker of cars, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and handed over the controls.

I’m always interested in the history of things, and you can see from the photo that this is a Leyland make of tractor. We’ve got the original booklet for it, dated 1976! Leyland tractors were manufactured by a division of British Leyland, formed by a merger between Leyland Motors and British Motor Holdings (thanks Wikipedia!) I’ve been delighted to find the Nuffield and Leyland Tractor Club online which has lots of info on these old tractors, of which there seem to be a fair few still in circulation. This model 245 Leyland was made in Bathgate, Scotland, and 5100 were transported to Australia between 1970 and 1980. There are some photos of the Bathgate production line on the Tractor Club website here, including one the same model as ours. We’re hoping to get many more years of service out of it! And maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to mow between our rows of olive trees. FFx

Author: FarmerFi

I'm a British doctor who married an Aussie, moved to Tasmania, and bought an olive grove. Now making extra virgin olive oil and olive leaf tea. I'd love you to join my adventures in the beautiful setting of Southern Tasmania.

9 thoughts on “My First Tractor

  1. Of course you will, Fi ! – and how brave you are, up there so small on so big a piece of machinery ! DELIGHTFUL !
    I wish to be kept informed regarding the tractor braveness, please. 😀

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  2. Sounds like an amazing experience 🙂 You made me chuckled when you asked “And apparently it’s possible to flip it somehow. Or is this an urban (rural!) myth?” – I don’t know if you’ve watched Disney Pixar’s Cars, but if I were you, I’d keep well away from Mater and Lightning McQueen! 🙂 Here’s a link to this particular scene if you haven’t seen the movie : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4-7Kvhbthg… Seen it dozens of times with my son, and I still laugh at this bit! No, really, I don’t know if tractors can actually tip, but just take care 🙂

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    • Oh my word, that clip’s hilarious – that’s exactly what I’m worried about! And we don’t have a combine harvester for defense!! I watched the film once, but don’t remember that bit at all. Thank you, that’s got my Monday off to a a good start 🙂 But now I want to spend time searching youtube in case I can find the real thing…

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  3. Congratulations on becoming a bona fide tractor owner. We have one too, and intimidating as it is, I can’t imagine living in the country without it.

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  4. Rolling a tractor over is certainly no myth, urban or otherwise. In fact, it’s a leading cause of machinery-related deaths on farms. By now I guess you’ve become quite accustomed to the old Leyland and I hope you still have it. But I urge caution letting others drive it. Yours is clearly fitted with the rollover bar at the back, but being crushed to death is still possible in the event of a rollover. When there’s a good incline, never travel across the side of a hill, only travel up or down and you and any other drivers should be fine.

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