The smell of wood smoke wafted to greet Pearn’s Steam World visitors at the weekend, as did the whistle of the model steam train and the cheery song of a fairground organ.
After wet weather saw a sluggish start on Saturday, clearer skies Sunday drew many people out for the annual Pearn’s Steam World Steam Up – which will run for a final day on Monday.
Inside the gates on Sunday sat 20 Massey-Ferguson tractors, brought in by others to supplement the organisations own collection for the 60th anniversary of the iconic tractor.
Robert Hill, secretary of Pearn’s Steam World, was thrilled with both the tractor and visitor turnout.
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Seeing the machines people brought in was one of the joys of the job, he said.
“You never know what’s going to turn up until the day.”
Though some members of Pearn family are still involved, the collection is now looked after by a group of 45-50 volunteers under the Westbury Preservation Society.
“As volunteers we try to do what we can to keep things going,” Mr Hill said.
“We’ve got bits of working Tasmania we try to keep going as best we can. Our primary aim is looking after these massive steam engines.”
Walking among the food stalls and steam engines, Mr Hill pointed out displays for each of the Pearn brothers – Jack, Verdun and Zenith – who began the collection in the 1950s.
“Many of us actually met the brothers, so we do it in their memory and with respect to what they did,” he said.
“We tell their story, they are as much a part of what we’re preserving as the equipment.”
Mr Hill recalled a moment from a few months ago involving a young girl who visited Pearn’s sheds.
“A little girl came running into the sheds where we keep the steam engines all lined up and she stopped, sort of put up her finger pointing at the engine, and said ‘dinosaurs!’”
“She was just taken by the size and the bulk of them where she thought they were mechanical dinosaurs – which to some extent I suppose you could say they are,” he said.
“In other ways these are definitely alive, they’re not fossilised.”
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