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Factory Site of Sunshine Harvester Works

Postcard - Sunshine Harvester Works, 1910

Image: Postcard - Sunshine Harvester Works, 1910

Source: Museum Victoria

The Sunshine Harvester Works' factory site was initially home to the Braybrook Implement Works established in 1889-1890. Sunshine Harvester Works founder H.V McKay bought the site in 1904 and began moving his company from Ballarat.

Initially a small area consisting of a few buildings in 1906 the factory grew to accommodate 114 buildings by 1954, making it one of the largest manufacturing plants in Australia. By 1954, the total ground area covered by the factory's buildings was 1,651,928 sq. ft. The site was so large that factory foremen rode bicycles between the various departments.

The Sunshine Harvester Works' factory dominated the Sunshine landscape. From the rows of saw-tooth buildings to smoke billowing from its chimneys, the factory could not be missed. A notable sound coming from the site was the factory whistle which could be heard throughout Sunshine.

The site transformed as additional factory departments were created or enlarged and production expanded. Perhaps the most ambitious and expensive factory upgrade took place when Massey-Ferguson took over the company in 1955. Between 1964 and 1969, the company spent £500,000 on improving the site. This included updating machine tools and equipment which were nearly 50 years old and general repairs and maintenance on buildings.

Despite the marked improvement of the factory, it could not be saved from the company's dire financial situation. From 1969, Massey-Ferguson (Australia)'s local sales and profits began to decline, as did the workforce. Despite a temporary recovery in the mid-1970s, the company's profits contracted thereafter. In 1986, the Sunshine factory ceased production after nearly 80 years.

A few elements of the factory site and company offices still survive. They include the Bulk Store, Russell Street gate, clock tower (built in the 1950s), the original 1909 Head Office and offices from the 1930s.

References
Ford, O 2001. Harvester Town: The Making of Sunshine, 1890-1925, Sunshine and District Historical Society, Sunshine.
H.V. McKay, Factory Plan, 1954. Held in Museum Victoria's H.V McKay Sunshine Collection, registration no. HT 9495.
 
Related Narratives
A Postman's Route Around the Sunshine Harvester Works
Annealing Department at Sunshine Harvester Works
'Back Shed' at Sunshine Harvester Works
Belt-driven Machiney at Sunshine Harvester Works
Blacksmiths' Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Bolt Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Canteen at Sunshine Harvester Works
Commonwealth Service Department at Sunshine Harvester Works
Compressor Room at Sunshine Harvester Works
Cutting-up Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Drilling Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Factory Whistle at Sunshine Harvester Works
Feeding the Factory 'Ratters' at Sunshine Harvester Works
Fire Brigade at Sunshine Harvester Works
First Aid Room of Sunshine Harvester Works
Gate Houses at Sunshine Harvester Works
Head Office of Sunshine Harvester Works
Industrial Chaplaincy at Sunshine Harvester Works
Iron Yard (or Steel Storage) at Sunshine Harvester Works
Laboratory at Sunshine Harvester Works
Machine Assembly Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Maintenance Department at Sunshine Harvester Works
Paint Dip Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Photography Department at Sunshine Harvester Works
Plier Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Printing Department at Sunshine Harvester Works
Power House at Sunshine Harvester Works
Quality Control Centre at Sunshine Harvester Works
Quarry at Sunshine Harvester Works
Reclamation Department at Sunshine Harvester Works
Russell Street Gate at Sunshine Harvester Works
Sheet Iron Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Showroom at Sunshine Harvester Works
Spring and Tine (Tyne) Shop at Sunshine Harvester Works
Stores Department at Sunshine Harvester Works
Sunshine Motor Works at Sunshine Harvester Works
Tool Rooms at Sunshine Harvester Works
Woodmill at Sunshine Harvester Works

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