Search the collections
Sunshine Stripper Harvester
Image: 'Early Sunshine Harvester', McKay Bros Patent, Sandhurst, circa 1886
Source: Museum Victoria
Frustrated by the slow and laborious nature of harvesting wheat, Hugh Victor McKay, at the age of 18, assembled a 'stripper harvester' on his father's property at Drummarton, Victoria, in early 1884. Having obtained Victorian patents over his harvester design in March and June 1885, McKay set about commericalising the design by commissioning McCalum, Garde & Co., of North Melbourne, to build five harvesters under contract that were sold to Victorian and New South Wales farmers for use in the 1885-86 harvest. While his design was not the first 'combine harvester' developed in Australia, through vigorous promotion and ongoing improvements the McKay harvester had, by 1900, became the most commercially successful Australian harvester design.
The popularity of the 'Sunshine' Stripper Harvester was able to secure McKay's place as one of the most successful agricultural implement makers in Australia. The harvester played an important role in establishing Australia as a leading cereal producing country, and was one of the first Australian manufactured products to be exported in large numbers. The H.V. McKay Company also manufactured an extensive range of other farming equipment and implements. By the 1920s it had become the largest manufacturing enterprise in the Southern Hemisphere, employing over 3000 workers.
H.V. McKay Sunshine Collection
Origin of the 'Sunshine' Brandname
The Sunshine Harvester Works, Sunshine, Victoria, Australia
Hugh V. McKay, Agricultural Implement & Machinery Manufacturer, Ballarat & Sunshine, Victoria
H.V. McKay Massey Harris Pty Ltd, Agricultural Equipment Manufacturers & Importers, Sunshine, Victoria
Massey-Ferguson (Aust.) Ltd, Agricultural & Construction Equipment Manufacturers & Importers, Sunshine, Victoria
1. F.J. Kendall, H.V. McKay Pioneer Industrialist, Monograph No.2, Council of the Science Museum of Victoria, 21 Nov 1979.
2. John Lack, 'McKay, Hugh Victor (1865 - 1926)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol.10, Melbourne University Press, 1986, pp 291-294.
3. Victorian Patent No.4006, 24 Mar 1885 (Hugh V. McKay & John McKay) 'Improvements in and connected with harvesting machines'.
4. Victorian Patent No.4095, 19 Jun 1885, Hugh V. McKay , 'Improvements in and connected with harvesting machines'.
Items per page: 10 50 (showing 1 - 10) 107 items
Photograph of a Sunshine harvester outside the original wooden-slab blacksmith hut at the McKay family home at Drummartin, west of Elmore, Victoria, after 1884. The identity of the man ...Images: 2
Photograph of stripper harvester. This image is part of a collection of photographs, moving film, artefacts, documents and trade literature relating to Massey Ferguson (Aust.) Ltd, kn ...Images: 1
Copy photograph of sign of a Sunshine Harvester. This image is part of a collection of photographs, moving film, artefacts, documents and trade literature relating to Massey Ferguson ...Images: 1
Wide-fold postcard written in Spanish with a photographic image of an agricultural field with several horse-drawn harvesters. The image is titled "Vista de una seccion de cosechadoras ...Images: 2
A typewritten 'confidential' manuscript describing the development of agricultural implement manufacturing businesses in Australia, England and the United States, and gives examples of ...Images: 4
Certificate of Employment from H.V. McKay Sunshine Harvester Works, for Aubrey Lionel Bertram Hampton. Aubrey Lionel Bertram Hampton, a 28-year-old fitter and turner, enlisted on 18 Au ...Images: 1
A handwritten draft of a letter, unknown author, regarding the merging of the business interests of the Massey-Harris Company Ltd. and H. V. McKay Pty. Ltd. Undated, but circa 1930. T ...Images: 1
Photograph of Memorial Gates at Barclay Reserve, Sunshine. The photograph is part of the extensive H.V. McKay Sunshine Collection, which consists of photographs, films, business and ...Images: 1
Studio photograph of a Sunshine, Sunspary Unit. The photograph is part of the extensive H.V. McKay Sunshine Collection, which consists of photographs, films, business and personal ar ...Images: 1