A Waikato farm around 1900, and this time there are no women in sight! So, there’s probably no war and there are enough men and boys, one young lad at least, to bring in the sheaves. Thing is, this farm is ‘post-sheaves’ – it is highly mechanised with two horse drawn vehicles (if you can call the timber frame a vehicle).
The machine on the right is, of course, a hay rake which is known in particular as a dump rake. The things that impress me in this photo are the fully air-conditioned seating arrangement and the highly effective (highly?) suspension which cushioned the driver’s ride and, more seriously, the manual work that had to be done on farms in those days.
The sheer size of the haystack must impress anyone. That’s when so many jobs were ‘hard’ work.
Brings to mind a mate’s father who, in 1953, went for an interview for a farm job in Hertfordshire. The prospective employer shook hands with the three or four men who turned out for the job and told Charlie the job was his. The other chaps left and Charlie, who I know well to be a gent of the highest integrity, was concerned that the farmer hadn’t even asked him for a reference. The farmer told him, ‘You’re the only one with hard hands and a firm grip!’
PS: Charlie was still going to work each day for a few hours at 90 years of age!
Hamilton Central Libraries, photo HCL_02681