The ’little grey’ Ferguson tractor wrote itself into history through the part it played in saving Wentworth in NSW from the 1956 floods.
Flood waters raced towards Wentworth along the Darling and Murray rivers, resulting in a third of Wentworth going under water. Wentworth became an island in an inland sea.
The people of Wentworth stayed to fight and save their town from ruin when all authorities were urging them to evacuate.
The small Ferguson tractors were prevalent in the area at the time and prove superior to other machinery as they were light, manoeuverable, coped well with the sticky, slippery clay of the levee banks and posed little danger of collapsing them.
During the floods the roar of the little Fergies could be heard 24 hours a day as volunteers patched and built crumbling and new levee banks to fortify Wentworth from the rising waters.
Once the floods began receeding, people were so exhuberant in regards to their success that one fellow drove his Fergie tractor into the local hotel (with the front wheels reaching the bar) and celebratory drinks were had all around.
A monument to the town-saving Fergies was erected at the corner of Adelaide and Darling Streets in Wentworth in 1959 and still remains there to this day. This cairn is the world’s first monument to a tractor.
The Great Wentworth Tractor Rally is held every 5 years to commemorate the saving of the town by these little tractors.