James Martin Stripper and Bagshaw Winnower

Interviewees: Graham Elphick 
Location: Junee
Themes: Crops

This horse-drawn harvester stripped the heads of wheat from the crop. Strippers were the invention of J.W. Bull in South Australia in 1843 and they revolutionised the harvesting of wheat especially in that state and the drier areas of the continent. They required long hot summers to fully ripen the crop so the heads could be easily 'knocked off' by the machine's beaters. The Junee stripper was made in South Australia by James Martin & Co. Ltd of Gawler. Strippers remained the dominant harvester for cereal crops in Australia until 1910. They were  a great improvement to men cutting the crop by hand with sickles.

Winnowers like this one made by J.S. Bagshaw & Sons at Mile End, South Australia, separated the grain from the chaff and dirt before bagging and marketing. Winnowing was undertaken after stripping wheat. Portable winnowers were brought to a corner of the paddock where harvesting was in operation and for more efficient handling grain elevators and baggers were sometimes added. In the simplest winnowing machine the blast of air from a fan, which rotated rapidly inside a suitable casing, was directed on to the grain as it fell in a fine stream on to a reciprocating sieve from a hopper on top of the machine. Less labour was required following the adoption of these machines in the mid 1800s and the harvest process undertaken far more quickly, efficiently and for less cost.

As harvesters were further developed the two actions of stripping and winnowing were combined into the one machine, the stripper-harvester, although strippers continued to be made up to 1940.

Stage 5 Education Resource: James Martin Stripper and Bashaw Winnower - Junee (PDF, 226.1 KB)

Museum: Junee Broadway Museum