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International Harvester Collection




Acquired by Museum Victoria from International Trucks Pty Ltd in 1992, this collection comprises a large number of glass plate and film negatives, transparencies, photo albums, product catalogues, videos, motion picture films, company journals, advertisements and newspaper cuttings relating to the Australian operations of the International Harvester Company.The International Harvester Company of America was formed in 1902 by the merger of five leading US agricultural machinery manufacturers. An Australian subsidiary was established in 1912 to manage Australian distribution and sales and went on to establish local manufacturing works at Geelong, Dandenong and Port Melbourne. International Harvester was a major competitor to other Australian manufacturers such as H.V. McKay's Sunshine Harvester Works.

The International Harvester Company of America was formed in 1902 by the merger of five of the leading US agricultural machinery manufacturers, including the McCormick and Deering Harvester Companies of Chicago. Initial product lines inherited from the company's predecessors included reapers, mowers, hay rakes, harvesters and other agricultural equipment. By the end of the decade cultivating implements, milking machines, internal combustion engines, tractors and motor vehicles were added to the product line up. A Melbourne-based subsidiary, the International Harvester Company of Australia Pty Ltd was established in 1912 to manage Australian distribution and sales of International Harvester products, with branch offices in interstate capital cities and a network of 550 dealers by the late 1940s. International Harvester became a major competitor to local manufacturers like H.V. McKay's Sunshine Harvester Works. In response to restrictive Commonwealth import tariffs, International Harvester established its own Australian manufacturing operations, opening factories at Geelong in 1937, to produce agricultural equipment (and later tractors), at Dandenong in 1952, to produce motor trucks, and at Port Melbourne in 1958, to produce earthmoving and construction equipment. To assist in the development of products specifically for Australian markets a truck proving ground was established at Anglesea in 1961 and a Product Engineering Centre at Geelong in 1962. By the late 1970s, the International Harvester Company was suffering from declining sales and rising costs prompting a drastic rationalisation of its worldwide operations, which included the closure of the Geelong and Port Melbourne factories by the mid 1980s. International Trucks Australia Ltd which operated the Dandenong factory was acquired in 1992 by IVECO, part of the Italian-based Fiat Group, and is still in production. The International Harvester Collection was acquired by Museum Victoria from International Trucks Pty Ltd in 1992. It includes in excess of 50,000 glass plate and film negatives, photo albums, product catalogues, videos, motion picture films, press clipping books, company publications, advertisements and other records relating to the operations of the International Harvester Company in Australia. It includes an extensive photographic record of the company's Australian sales, distribution and manufacturing activities in agricultural equipment, tractors, trucks and earth moving equipment and their manufacturing works at Geelong, Port Melbourne and Dandenong. The collection does not include business archives, detailed production records or employee records.

Please direct access requests via Museum Victoria's Discovery Centre


1912-1992; Advertising; Advertising signs; Agricultural equipment; Agricultural Equipment Dealers; Agricultural Implement Works; Agricultural Implements; Agricultural Machinery; Agricultural shows; Agricultural Workers; Agriculture; Assembly Lines; Auto Header Harvesters; Backhoes; Building & Construction; Building Sites; Cane Harvesters; Combine Harvesters; Construction Equipment; Crop Processing Equipment; Crops; Cultivating Equipment; Cultivators; Display Windows; Earthmoving Equipment; Excavation Equipment; Factory Construction; Farmers; Farms; Foundries; Foundry Equipment; Front End Loaders; Grain Harvesting Equipment; Harvesters; Hay Making Equipment; Header Harvesters; Horsedrawn Implements; Industrial design; Innovation; Innovations; Inventions; Machine Tools; Machinery Dealers; Machinery Displays; Manufacturing; Manufacturing Workers; Manufacturing Works; Metal Presses; Milking Equipment; Milking Machines; Motor cars; Motor Trucks; Motor Vans; Motor Vehicles; Occupational health & safety; Petrol Engines; Reaper-Binders; Royal Melbourne Show; Rural Landscapes; Seed & Fertilizer Drills; Showgrounds; Showrooms; Spraying & Dusting Equipment; Structural Steelwork; Sustainable Agriculture; Tractors; Tractors Attachments; Warehouses; Windmills; Workers; Working life

Coverage Spatial

Victoria, Australia; New South Wales, Australia; Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; Dandenong, Victoria, Australia; Gippsland, Victoria, Australia; Geelong, Victoria, Australia; Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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