Antique Chamberlain tractors subject of new book

Antique Chamberlain tractors subject of new book

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Josh and Melvin Mengel with some of the Chamberlain tractors on display for the book launch.

Josh and Melvin Mengel with some of the Chamberlain tractors on display for the book launch.

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A book being launched this weekend will set out details of every Chamberlain tractor ever produced, in a bid to preserve the iconic machinery company's history.

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A book being launched this weekend will set out details of every Chamberlain tractor ever produced, in a bid to preserve the iconic machinery company's history.

Nobby father and son Melvin and Josh Mengel are passionate about Chamberlain tractors, and that's why they, along with Greg McNiece from Victoria, arranged for author Bruce Lindsay to compile the Chamberlain Data Book, a informative guide about the historic tractors, initially produced by Chamberlain Industries.

The Mengels met Mr Lindsay at Biloela in 2007, at the launch of his previous book Chamberlain Australian Innovator: The Life and Works of Alan Hawker 'Bob' Chamberlain. The Mengels had been asked to restore one of their tractors for the launch.

"[Greg McNiece] told me about nine months before this book was being published, 'you've got a rare Chamberlain, they only made 89 of these Chamberlains... would you restore it and have it for the show up at Biloela'?" Melvin said.

Now, 10 years after the idea of a second book focusing more specifically on the tractors was born, it's on the market, celebrating the iconic tractors, which were made from 1949 until 1986.

The book include details of each model, historic photographs, old advertisements and even specifics of changes to each model.

"You often get at a rally two tractors and one will be a bit different to the other," Melvin said.

Chamberlain tractors lined up in Nobby ahead of Saturday's book launch.

Chamberlain tractors lined up in Nobby ahead of Saturday's book launch.

"The people will say 'oh, that tractor isn't right, someone's put that on' and now we've got proof that they did change them within the model."

While the Mengels use modern tractors for their cropping operations, they use the Chamberlains for forage crops for cattle.

Melvin Mengel has been collecting tractors since he left school and now the collection includes 15 Chamberlains, including three Canelander models.

"We always used Massey Ferguson but I've just taken to Chamberlains because they were Australian made, there were reliable and they never seemed to break down," he said.

"Nowadays everybody in the tractor world wants to get a Chamberlain.

"In generations to come people won't even know what Chamberlains are and that's why we got this book done."

Over the years, the Mengels have acquired a number of their Chamberlain tractors, including the rare 60 model, by chance.

Josh bought a Super 70 when he was just 15 and that acquisition led directly to the 60 just a few years later.

"We were at Jondaryn Woolshed at a show and another old fellow came up and said, 'do you want another one of them?'" Josh said.

"We said 'well, not really but if there's one around...' and that turned out to be the 60.

"The bloke had it pulled apart in a million pieces and didn't know what it was and we don't know at the time."

They bought it for $1000 for what turned out to be the rarest model of Chamberlain model.

The Chamberlain Data Book will be launched on Saturday at 4pm at Dillybag Gunyah, Nobby, with a private function afterward.

The book will cost $45 and will be available through Clancy's Ag in Toowoomba.

Chamberlain tractors in use on the Mengels' farm near Nobby.

Chamberlain tractors in use on the Mengels' farm near Nobby.

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