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Braybrook Implement Company
Sunshine Harvester Works
H.V. McKay Ptd Ltd

Harry Ferguson
Massey - Harris
Massey - Harris - Ferguson
Massey - Ferguson

Connor Shea
Ralph McKay Engineering Works

The manufacture of farm implement equipment in the Braybrook / Sunshine area dates back to 1890.


In the following 100 odd years there were significant factory expansions, employment & population growth, suburb expansion, company organised social activities, company housing, strikes and the Australian Industrial Harvester Judgement, recessions, two World Wars, company mergers, the creation of a new implement manufacturing company, factory relocation and ultimately the closure of the manufacturing factories. Many of this was driven by strong minded businessmen, the likes of the Mellor Brothers, Henry "Harry" Ferguson, Hugh Victor McKay, Cecil McKay, Ralph McKay, Tom Connor and Leslie Shea.

Mellor Bro's Colonial Implement Company

In 1840 and after arriving in Adelaide, South Australia from England, Joseph Mellor established a small carpentry and wheel wright business in Morphett Street. He manufactured dray, wheelbarrows and other small farming implements. By 1857, his company's business had expanded, and Joseph built a new factory in Franklin Street adjacent to his original factory. 


The company's reputation soon expanded to the colony of Victoria and by 1859 Joseph had established agencies for the sale of his equipment in Victoria.

Joseph's business continued to expand and in 1863 he established a new factory in Kapunda, South Australia. This factory was managed by his son James Fox Mellor.


In 1869, Joseph relinquished control of the Franklin Street site to his two sons James Fox Mellor and Thomas Fox Mellor. His third son Benjamin Fox Mellor also joined the business. Thomas soon resigned from the business to take up his own personal business career. There was a fourth brother, John Fox Mellor, who did follow his three older brothers into his father's business.

The Mellor brother's businesses continued to expand, and in 1876 they built a factory in Jamestown, South Australia. In 1878, the partnership of the three Mellor brothers was dissolved. This did not stop James and Benjamin to continue on with the business and in 1880 they built a new factory in Quorn, South Australia. In December 1880, the founder of the business, their father Joseph Mellor, died in Semaphore, South Australia.

Over the next few years, the company's reputation continued to expand, and the company became a household name in the farming communities of New South Wales & Victoria. Further agencies were formed and in 1885, Benjamin together with his family moved to Ballarat, Victoria, so he could oversee the interstate distribution of their equipment.

In 1888, the McCalman, Garde, & Co. company located in North Melbourne, Victoria began to manufacture ploughs and scarifiers under licence from the Mellor's Brothers.

In 1890, the Mellor's Brothers purchased land at Braybrook Junction, Victoria and built a manufacturing plant there. In the same year, the Mellor Brothers Cooperative Limited was founded and company shares were sold to farmers and employees. James Melor was appointed the chairman of directors of the company,

In 1892, Benjamin sold his personal property and settled in Moonee Ponds, Victoria.

In 1893, a recession had hit South Australia which severely affected the company and in 1894 the company went in voluntary liquidation.

The two brothers of James and Benjamin also founded the Meadowbank Implement Works at Meadowbank, New South Wales.

James Fox Mellor died in Adelaide in 1914 and Benjamin Fox Mellor died in 1916 in Newlyn, Victoria.


Ref: Illustrated Sydney News 17th April 1890 Page 23

Braybrook Implement Works

In 1890, the Mellor Brothers Cooperative Limited purchased 64 3/4 acres of land at Braybrook Junction, Victoria. The site was split into two by the Sandhurst (Bendigo) Railway Line. A first a railway siding was built into the factory which provided easy access for the supply of raw materials and fuel for the operations of the factory and the distribution of the manufactured farm equipment local, interstate and international markets. As the factory expanded in size further railway siding were extended into the site.

With droughts in Australia during 1901 & 1902, together with competition from overseas companies, the Braybrook Implementation Works closed it operations at Braybrook Junction.

The site remained idle until 1904 and via a tender process, the Braybrook Implements Works site was purchased by Hugh Victor (H.V.) McKay.


Ref: Harvester Town, The making of Sunshine 1890 - 1925 by Olwen Ford

Sunshine Harvester Works

Hugh Victor McKay, was born in a town near Drumartin, Victoria in 1865.


In 1885, Hugh, his father Nathaniel and brother John built a combined prototype striper-harvester and patented it as the Sunshine Harvester. This harvester revolutionized the wheat harvesting industry and the equipment sold throughout the world. At first, Hugh's harvester was built under contract at factories in Melbourne and Bendigo. In 1888, Hugh built and opened his own factory in Ballarat, Victoria.

In 1904, Hugh Victor McKay purchased the Braybrook Implements Works Factory in Devonshire Road, Braybrook Junction and renamed it to the Sunshine Harvester Works. Hugh Victor moved his operations and many of his employees from his to Ballarat factory to work in his new Braybrook Junction factory.

In 1907, an industrial dispute between H.V. McKay and his workers led to court action. Justice H.B. Higgins of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration heard the case. He ruled that employees should receive a pay that guaranteed them a standard of living which was reasonable for "a human being in a civilised community", regardless of his capacity to pay. Hugh Victor McKay successfully appealed the case ruling but the ruling became the basis of the minimum wage in Australia for the next 80 years.

In 1907, the residents of Braybrook Junction successfully voted that the junction be renamed to Sunshine, after Hugh Victor McKay's harvester.


The Sunshine factory over many years expanded in size and at its peak employed nearly 3000 workers. The factory became the largest manufacturing factory in the Southern Hemisphere.


In 1921, Hugh Victor McKay renamed to the business to H.V. McKay Pty Ltd.

Hugh Victor McKay died at the Sunbury mansion of Rupertswood in 1926.

Ref: Wikipedia

Ref: Massey Ferguson Fact Card No 1

H.V. McKay Pty Ltd

From 1921 to 1930, the Sunshine manufacturing site was known as H.V. McKay Pty Ltd.

In 1930, the H.V. McKay Pty Ltd business was as then renamed to H.V. McKay Massey - Harris after an agreement was reached with the Canada company Massey - Harris.

Massey - Harris Company

In 1847, Daniel Massey established a workshop in Otntario, Canada to build and repair simple farm equipment. Ten years later Alanson Harris, a millwright and foundry operator began to make similar equipment in the same town. This led to fierce competition between the two companies both in the local and international markets.

Up until 1891, both companies marketed their equipment in Australia as independent companies.

In 1891, a historical merger between the two companies took place to form the Massey - Harris Company.

For a short time, the merged company sold their equipment in Australia via means on independent state-based agents. The company soon established national wide company appointed agents.

Ref: Massey Ferguson Fact Card No 1


Harry Ferguson Limited Company

Henry "Harry" Geroge Ferguson was born in 1884 in Growell, near Dromore, in County Down, Ireland.

In the early years, Henry showed an interest in the merging aviation industry but after falling out with his brother, Henry founded a company selling Maxwell, Star, Vauxhall cars and Overtime Tractors. He soon observed the weakness of having tractor and a  plough as separate articulated units. By the early 1920's he was successfully demonstrating how to hitch to the units together into a single unit. 

In 1926, Henry teamed up with the Eber and George Sherman to form the Ferguson - Sherman Inc Company. Henry then merged his interest with those of David Brown junior to create the Ferguson - Brown Company.

By 1952, many of his important patents had expired, and a year later he merged his company with the Massey - Harris Company to form the Massey - Harris - Ferguson Limited Company.

Ref: Wikipedia

Massey - Harris - Ferguson Limited Company

In 1953, there was the amalgamation of the Harry Ferguson Limited Company with the Massey - Harris Company to form the Massey - Harris - Ferguson Limited Company.

Ref: Massey Ferguson Fact Card No 1

H.V. McKay Massey - Harris Pty Limited Company

In 1930, the H.V. McKay business was linked to Massey - Harris via an agreement where the Australian company obtained the exclusive rights to distribute the Massey - Harris equipment within Australia. In return, the Canada company received 25% of the Australian Company. The company was then renamed as the H.V. McKay Massey - Harris Limited Company.

The H.V. Kay and Massey - Harris retail agencies were then integrated together.

In 1955, the remaining shares of the H.V. McKay were sold to the Massey - Harris - Ferguson Limited Company. The Australia company became a subsidiary of the Canada company. The sale process had considerable legal issues that had to be sorted out between the various parties. Cecil McKay worked through these issues and before completing the sale, he ensured that the ownership of the H.V. McKay Gardens were handed over to the City of Sunshine Council.


As part of this transaction, the letters of H.V. McKay were removed from the buildings, company's letter heads and other business documents. The magical word "Sunshine" also appeared to shrink on the machinery. Even the early harvesters that were proudly being displayed in the company's Devonshire Road showrooms were removed and disposed of in a nearby quarry hole.

Ref: Massey Ferguson Fact Card No 1

Ref: Cecil McKay, It Wasn't All Sunshine by Marjory McKay

Massey - Ferguson Limited Company

In 1958, the Massey - Harris - Ferguson Limited Company was renamed to Massey - Ferguson Limited and it's Australia's operations became Massey - Ferguson (Aust) Limited.

Ref: Massey Ferguson Fact Card No 1

Massey - Ferguson (Aust) Limited Company

In 1958, after the renaming of Massey - Harris - Ferguson Limited to Massey - Ferguson Limited, the Sunshine office and factory became Australia's base for manufacturing. The site consisted of 76 acres with 1.4 million square feet of productive floor space.

By the mid 1970's, the company was experiencing financial difficulties due to the reduction of global market share and the business progressively contracted in size. Massey Ferguson continued manufacturing at the Sunshine site until 1989. Most os the site were demolished to make way for the new Sunshine Market Place.

Some of the factories remaining functions moved to a nearby site in James Crt Tottenham.

In 1991, Massey Ferguson (Aust) Ltd merged with the Australian distributor of the Japanese tractor manufacturer Iseki to become Massey Ferguson Iseki Australia Limited.

In 1993, the American agricultural machinery manufacturer AGCO purchased the distribution rights of Massey Ferguson Iseki Australia Limited and the company's name was changed to AGCO and moved into a smaller commercial site in James Court, Tottenham. AGCO has since moved to another site located at 615-645 Somerville Road, Sunshine West.

Ref: Wikipedia

Connor Shea

The Connor Shea company started in 1952 when four disenchanted men working for the McKay - Massey - Ferguson Company decided to leave and start up their own agricultural machinery company.


The four men were Leslie "Les" John Shea, Tom Connor, Charles Thomas "Tom" Dealy and Edward "Ted" George Waters. They then partnered up with the Albury based businessman Jim D. Phillips.

They decided to design and manufacture a completely new machine called the Chisel Plow. They went onto designing, developing and manufacturing Disc Drill, Wideline Seeders, One Way Plows, Cultivators, Dra-Mac Pallet Rackers, etc.

The factory in Fourth Ave, Sunshine was located on 7.8 hectors of land with buildings covering more than 17,000 square metres. Another 3.6 hectors in Bacchus Marsh was later purchased for their expanding business.

The company started to export machines to New Zealand and later counties in African and Europe.

In 1978, the company was acquired by Clyde Industries and the two groups were combined to form a Clyde Division known as Connor Shea Napier. This amalgamation created the most prominent agricultural machinery manufacturing operation in Australia.

In the late 1980's and with the assistance of the Queensland Government, the Sunshine operations were merged and relocated to the Dalby factory located in Queensland.

Ref: Charles Thomas Dealy 1988

Ref: Queensland Government Cabinet Minute 23rd May 1988 

Ref: Connor Shea 25 years in the field

Ralph McKay Engineering Works

Ralph McKay was the nephew of Hugh Victor McKay, the industrialist that established the Sunshine Harvester Works. In 1932, Ralph left the family business to set up his own business in making discs, coulters wheels and rims for farm machinery for both local and export markets. At first his machine shop was located in Ascot Vale however in 1934 he moved to the Hampstead Road Maidstone site.

By the 1950's, Ralph's company was reported to be the largest sole proprietor business in Australia.

Ralph continued to grow the business with mergers of other businesses including Port Implements Pty Ltd, Welch Perrin & Co Ltd, S & G Barlow Pty Ltd, Wesson Electrical Engineering Pty Ltd, Westwards Sales, Soil Erosion Equipment Co. Pty Ltd Tadco (Aust) Pty Ltd and Mangrove Industries Ltd.


By early 1990's the business was closed and the site was redeveloped into smaller tenants.

Ref: Maribyrnong Heritage Review - Industrial Places

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