LABOUR OF LOVE: Grant and Barry Clarson with the restored Model A McCormick tractor.
LABOUR OF LOVE: Grant and Barry Clarson with the restored Model A McCormick tractor. Contributed

Friendship immortalised in a red vintage tractor

A RESTORED vintage tractor is more than just a machine to one Esk woman.

Fay Craddock inherited a Model A McCormick tractor with an estimated age of almost 100 years and a value of more than $20,000, but could not bring herself to sell it.

Seventeen years ago Fay decided to have a dam built on her land and enlisted a handyman for the job.

Barry Clarson and Fay got along instantly and, not long after, Fay met Barry's brother Grant Clarson.

It was the beginning of a friendship. Over time the three of them became inseparable.

"People called us the three musketeers,” Fay said. "We went everywhere together.”

The brothers discovered an old tractor and worked together to restore it.

"They brought it home, they got it soda blasted, stripped it back and rebuilt it,” Fay said.

"Grant repaired the motor and did all the mechanical parts. He'd been a mechanic with the Somerset Council for over 30 years and he'd just retired.”

As they aged, the trio became close, caring for each other during their various ailments.

When Barry's health took a turn for the worse the brothers moved into Fay's house.

"I only had one spare room so they built another one for Grant to live in,” she said.

Sadly, Barry's health deteriorated and he died.

"We were like brother and sister, Barry and I,” Fay said.

Fay and Grant continued to live together and, in early November last year, they talked about getting married but "there were hurdles”, Fay said.

"We were going to get married but there were so many problems, we needed to show cards and bank statements and it was just a hassle,” she said.

"So I said let's leave it for a while.”

Grant suggested they talk about it again in February, but in late November, he died.

"We found out his cancer was inoperable so there was nothing we could do about it,” Fay said.

"I miss him like hell of course but it's something you've just got to learn to live with.”

After inheriting the restored tractor Fay said she couldn't sell it, despite its $23,000 valuation.

"I can't sell something that these two people have restored,” she said.

"They really put their heart and soul into the mechanical work and into restoring it. I never even thought about selling it because I know that wasn't what they would have wanted.”

After searching for a home for the tractor, Fay donated it to the Jondaryan Woolshed early this month.

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