WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS, CHRIS THOMSON
It’s Easter Sunday afternoon, and the inaugural Windy Harbour tractor parade starts rolling out along the streets of the remote Southwest holiday spot.
Most of the tractors stick to the modest 15kph speed limit as they wind into Windy on the settlement’s new S-shaped bitumen entry road.
Together, the 27 rumbling tractors might be exceeding Shire of Manjimup noise regulations by a dB(A) or two.
But nobody’s counting.
Windy is an old-school holiday resort, loved by locals of the Warren District, many of whom have long used onetime farm tractors to tow their fishing boats to the beach.
The settlement is surrounded by D’Entrecasteaux National Park, and there’s no place like it in the world.
Most people stay in rustic huts built from scratch, and from a range of improvised materials, by their forebears, lots of whom had worked at timber mills in the district.
Local lore has it that when old man Bunning drove through Windy some decades ago, he wryly observed that most of the jarrah weatherboards sheltering the huts from Southern Ocean gales more than likely belonged to him.
With old man Bunning and any statute of limitations having long since passed, several of the jarrah-clad huts will eat tractor dust today.
But as the tractors round Windy’s barbecue area, and enter Mitchell Way, none of the holiday-makers who cheer the parade from the front decks or steps of their huts seems to mind.
And around the corner, in a line down to the boat ramp, a Praetorian Guard of tray-backs stoically waits for the procession to arrive.
As the tractors round the bend and chug into the boat ramp car park, the question on everybody’s lips is: “Which one’s your favourite?”.
Rather randomly, the prize for best tractor goes to Robert Trevorrow’s 1960 Ford-Ferguson, a machine he picked up from the Pemberton Mill in the mid-1980s.
“It cost $300 to buy, $60 to do up, $360 for engine parts and $130 to $140 for a water pump, radiator and gaskets,” Mr Trevorrow tells oneperth.com.au.
“It would probably cost $4000 to $5000 to buy one now in this condition.”
Mr Trevorrow, an electrician by trade, has been holidaying at Windy since 1979.
He is a life member of the Windy Harbour Volunteer Marine Rescue that put today’s Easter ex-tractor-ganza together.
In announcing Mr Trevorrow as winner, Windy Harbour Volunteer Marine Rescue Commander Nigel Kelly says the two judges, who he declines to name, think the Ford-Fergy is “cute”.
Mr Kelly enigmatically adds that the Windy Harbour tractor parade is a “first time ever, and a one-off, maybe”.
Mr Trevorrow wins a pizza for his troubles.