ARARAT’S Langi Morgala Museum has added a newly restored tipper wagon to its collection of artifacts from the region’s past.
Ararat Historical Society president Gerry Bolt said the approximately 100-year-old design was so popular that similar wagons could frequently be seen in 19th century photographs of Barkly Street.
“It was like the ute or tip truck of its day,” he said.
“The whole tray tips up. It’s for small but heavy loads. It’s built with a massive axle and wheel hubs.
“It’s probably 100 years old. We don’t have the exact provenance, unfortunately.”
Mr Bolt said the wagon was deigned to carry loads like rubble, sand, soil or sacks of wheat.
“The wheel spokes are easily twice the diameter of a normal buggy. It’s for heavy use,” he said.
The wagon has few concessions to comfort, with the driver expected to sit on the load itself or on a bare board across the top of the tray.
Like some other items at the museum on Queen Street, the wagon’s exact history has been lost.
“We don’t know where it came from originally, although it was almost certainly used around Ararat,” he said.
“This wagon has been here forever. It was here when I got here. It was here when the other volunteers got here as well.
“It has been moved around a few times, it has been repaired a few times in its life. The tray has been broken, probably from the weight.”
Mr Bolt and the other volunteers believe the wagon was not manufactured in Ararat due to the large and heavy-duty metal components that would have required a foundry to produce.
The nearest foundry at the time of the wagon’s manufacture was at Ballarat.
“There’s no maker’s mark on it. It may have had one but it’s long gone.” Mr Bolt said.
The wagon’s restoration took about three months.
Mr Bolt said volunteers originally underestimated the time it would take.
“We thought it would be an easy job but it tuned out there was a lot of rot in the wood,” he said.
“We’ve painted the wagon up in the original colours.”