McDonald Imperial Oil Tractor, National Museum of Australia, October 2021
The National Museum of Australia has acquired a rare McDonald EB model Imperial oil tractor, one of the earliest examples of tractors manufactured in Australia, with funding assistance from the National Cultural Heritage Account.
Built just before the First World War, this tractor highlights some of the most significant innovations in Australian agriculture during the early 20th century. It marks the introduction of internal combustion engine powered tractors, the origins of Australian tractor production and their early application to ploughing, chaff-cutting, land-clearing and road haulage.
With no other surviving examples of the original McDonald EA model tractor, and only one other complete example in Australia in private ownership, this model provides the closest existing link to the first Australian built tractor.
The tractor has spent much of its recent life in the United States in private ownership, but has now been returned to Australia following its sale at auction in 2020. It will be on display at the National Museum of Australia from October this year.