100-year-old One-ton Tip Dray displayed at the Macksville Railway Centenary celebrations

Vic Bird with his One-ton Tip Dray. Photo: Stephen Katte
Vic Bird with his One-ton Tip Dray. Photo: Stephen Katte

Today the Macksville Train Station had a special event to commemorate 100 years since the Kempsey to Macksville rail line opened. Aside from the displays and costumes, a rare piece of history was featured, a genuine One-ton Tip Dray that was used to construct the local rail line.

Vic Bird is the owner of this piece of history and was only too happy to show off how the vintage equipment works and all the stories associated with it.

"It's over 100 years old, this One-ton Tip Dray was actually used in the construction of the Kempsey to Macksville rail line, it helped carry the gravel, and as the name suggests, it could carry up to a ton," he said.

"Gangs of men with shovels would load it up; there was no heavy machinery back then, so it was all done by hand.

"After the rail was completed, the Dray was bought by the Searle family of Tamban and used on their farm. I bought it around 1985, and since then it has been featured in the 'Back to Bowra Procession' many times, and all around the community in various events."

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Despite its decades of service, the old sturdy construction and ingenious design have ensured the Dray still works as good as the day it was made.

"It's still in good working order, as is the harness, even after all this time, the only thing it needs is a heavy draught horse to pull it, and it's ready to go," Vic said.

"Unlike a spring cart, the One-ton Tip Dray doesn't have any springs; it works by using a simple tipping mechanism at the front of the vehicle."

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