Northern NSW mechanic Tom Horwood has amassed a spectacular collection of 500 tractors.

Story + Photo Kate Newsome

Tom Horwood is always on the go. In the time spent retelling his life story, he has loaded a tractor onto the back of his 1981 International tray truck, opened a few gates and driven 30km home. The AW6 he picked up is set to be dismantled in the yards of Rural Wrecking Co. Pty Ltd, which Tom owns and runs on his family’s farm just north-west of Inverell in northern NSW.

Many of the tractors here are scrapped and sorted into warehouse racks or onto the neat piles that stretch across the surrounding paddocks. While those pieces are sold to buyers across the country, this vintage model is for a personal project. Its parts will be used to restore one of the historical tractors in Tom’s already 500-strong collection.

“No-one else has got a collection quite like this, set up quite like this,” Tom says, as he walks between 200 tractors in his vast shed that is due for an extension.

Tom has tractor models from the 1910s to the ’70s, including more than 40 working CASE Farmalls, Chamberlains, John Deeres and other rare prototypes. Various other items speckle the collection: motorbikes, trucks, cultivators and combines, and just about anything else that piques Tom’s lifelong interest in agricultural history and machinery.

This story excerpt is from Issue #150

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2023