IT’S a small part of Australia’s military history, if “small” is the word for the huge Anzac Day restoration project which has only just reached completion at Lloyd McCarthy’s Veteran home.
There is nothing especially small about the 3.7-tonne, V-8 powered, six-seat artillery tractor which Lloyd has lovingly (or obsessively, as he would say) returned to as-new condition, right down to the details of its camouflage pattern and its AIF number – and the .50 calibre bullet hole just under the front right mudguard.
And there is nothing small about the part it will play in Anzac Day celebrations in Winton this year.
Restoring it has been a big part of Lloyd’s life in recent years, ever since he brought it home on a flat bed semi-trailer, a gift to history from the Caulfield (near Winton) property where it has been preserved by the mostly dry inland air since being purchased at a post-war auction at Charters Towers in 1947.
“It’s been a complete ground-up restoration in every detail,” Lloyd said yesterday. “It’s an obsession.
“It’s a very rare vehicle. There’s one other being restored in Australia, but this is possibly the only rebuilt one in Australia, or the world.
“It was built by Ford in Canada in 1941, before America joined the war. Ford established their Canadian plant so the Germans couldn’t accuse them of backing the British.
“It was designed to tow the 25-pounder field gun. That gun had six crew, so it had to carry them as well, with all their kits, weapons and equipment. It was donated to me on condition that I bring it back to Winton for Anzac Day a couple of times. Eventually I will probably leave it to the Australian War Museum, because they don’t have one.”
At 10 miles to the gallon, it will use $600 worth of petrol driving to Winton, so Lloyd is grateful for some sponsorship from the Gympie RSL.