The Chamberlain 9G Tractor – An Aussie Icon
It was a perfect April Sunday as we drove my classic Alfa GTV 1750 to the annual swap meet at the Quirindi Heritage Village at near Gunnedah NSW.
It was well attended and there were many stalls selling interesting old car parts, old tractor parts, old tools, jewellery, bric-a-brac, plants, books, etc., and take-away food. There was an excellent museum displaying the goods and chattels and equipment of the early days, model steam locomotives giving rides on very narrow gauge tracks, and a good display of old tractors and agricultural machinery.
I did a double take at the large number of Chamberlain 9G tractors lined up as part of the show and more rumbled in as we looked them over. Most had been restored by their owner/drivers to take part in some truly astonishing tractor club “Treks” and I suspect this was just a stop en route.
Since the year 2000 they have participated in eleven treks, driving fromWestern Australiato the Eastern States by various routes including the Nullarbor andCentral Australia.
The “Chamberlain 9G Tractor Club of Western Australia Inc” was formed by WA’s Hugh Campbell and others in 1998/9 in time for the very first Trek to the Sydney Olympics and it’s developed from there. There are now members in practically all States.
The Treks are planned as 100% fund raisers for the Flying Doctors and Children’s Hospitals in each State, but they also give the 9G owners wonderful experiences and camaraderie along the way.
The 9G cabin has a large bench seat and is very comfortable for a machine of this age, and many owners have added extra creature comforts as well as modern electronic communications gear. Most 9G’s have been further modified for “trekking” with extra carrying facilities for fuel, water and camping gear. Some have been turned into campers with sleeping cabins built onto the back and some do the treks in even more comfort, towing small vans and camper trailers or even full size caravans.
The Chamberlain Company began manufacturing tractors inPerthin 1947 and produced a series of machines including the 9G which they made from 1958 and into the mid 1960’s. It was designed as a “go anywhere machine” with driving controls more truck-like than conventional tractor and it had a great gearbox allowing anything from 2 to 50 km per hour.
It is great to see this Aussie icon of the tractor world still running and being appreciated by their owners and the public alike. As a student atWaggaWaggaAgriculturalCollegein the early 1960’s I drove these great machines and appreciated their excellent characteristics including the 9 speed gearbox.
In the College holidays I worked for a Sub Clover seed harvesting contractor. We used the speed and power of the 9G to mow and rake off top growth, scarify to expose the clover burr, and then used the 9G’s low/low gear with a special harvester to suck up the burr and thresh out the clean seed. It was work that paid well and was great fun as well.
Manufacture of true Chamberlain tractors ceased in the mid 1970’s with the Countryman C6100 model and many Australian farmers still regret the loss, especially the iconic 9G.
Thank You Ian for your interesting report