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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

John Baird, 'Polly' and Bruce Batten. Photo: Ash Long

Historic dray launched at Whittlesea


An 1880s dray, which had spent its working life at the Craigie Lee Farm, Yan Yean, has been lovingly restored by members of the Whittlesea Agricultural Society.

The dray was unveiled on Sunday (Sept. 29) at a well-attended gathering held at the Whittlesea Showgrounds, at a function attended by Mayor Cr Lawrie Cox and Deputy Mayor Cr Tom Joseph.

WAS Life Member Peter Towt was Master of Ceremonies, and followed entertainer Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky, a founding member of the Bushwackers Band.

John Baird drove ‘Polly’ and the dray, accompanied by Bruce Batten, and a group in period custume from the Heritage Pavilion to the Administration Building.

The dray has been used to carry sheaves of oaten hay and cans of milk from the dairy farm to the Yan Yean railway platform for transport to the Hurrey Brothers Dairy in North Fitzroy.

The dray was later purchased from Miss Hilda Hurrey by Robert Draper, also of Yan Yean. In 2018, Robert gifted the dray to the Whittlesea Agriocultural Society.

It has been reconstructed by the volunteers of the WAS Heritage Section, whose skills and passion for the projects have ensured that the dray is preserved for current and future generations.

Talks of the ‘Restoration Journey’ were given by life member Judy Clements, and project histroain Ian Burke.

Also behind the microphone were Heritage Superintendent Robert Sly and Society President Lyn Lee.

The presentations were followed by afternoon tea, and visits to the Heritage Pavilion.

Amongst those acknowledged were Roger Hurrey, Robert Draper, John Baird and ‘Polly’, photographer Joanne Junor, caterers Anne Greer, Michelle Paxton, Krys Bridgeman and helpers.

So too were lead craftsman Gary Gay, historian and painter Ian Burke, lead assistant Dale Murphy, social media correspondents Erica Hawke and James Crane, section leader Robert Sly, and Heritage project team members Tom Lee, Kelvin and Shane Caskell, Stuart Crane, Robert Davison, Tim Blake, David Pitt, Stephen Murray, Kevin Le Poidevin and Garry Ewert.