Posts Tagged ‘Sir Edmund Hillary’
In 2005, at an international theater festival in the Netherlands, Dutch storyteller and actor Manon Ossevoort performed her live narrative, “DO.” It’s a story about a girl on a tractor taking the dreams of many to the end of the world. So, when the story ended, Ossevoort drove out of the theater on a tractor and began a journey.
Ossevoort’s odyssey led her through Europe, the Balkans and down through the continent of Africa. Along the way, she performed her story and collected, on little slips of paper, the dreams and hopes of the people she met.
After four years and more than 23,000 miles, Ossevoort reached the Cape of Good Hope. “I literally missed my boat,” she says. The ship she had planned to take to Antarctica—the symbolic end of the world—had canceled its trip. “I had no sponsors, nothing,” says Ossevoort. “But I had thousands of dreams in the back of my tractor that I had promised to bring to the South Pole, a continent where there’s never been war.”
Cue Massey Ferguson. The company has a unique connection to Antarctica. Sir Edmund Hillary and his team drove three Ferguson TE20 tractors to the pole in 1958. That same year also marked the introduction of the Massey Ferguson brand. Sponsoring another trek to the South Pole on Massey Ferguson tractors seemed like a perfect way to celebrate both milestones.
Ossevoort and a Massey Ferguson assembled team of specialists have begun polar training in Iceland and northern Canada with a new Massey Ferguson 5600 Series tractor that has been modified to create “the ultimate polar-expedition tractor,” she says. The expedition plans to sail to Antarctica in December 2014, where it will follow the same path as Hillary’s expedition.
Ossevoort explains what she’ll do with the stories she’s collected on her journey: “I’ll symbolically finish my epic story at the geographical South Pole by building a snowman with the ‘dreams of the world’ in its belly.”
Reliability is always high on the priority list when shopping around for new farm machinery. Here is a story based on some extreme conditions that you probably won’t face in your everyday life, but truly demonstrates the necessity to purchase a reliable machine . . .
On January 4 1958, driving trusty Ferguson TE20 ‘Fergie’ tractors, Sir Edmund Hillary and his team became the first overland explorers to reach the South Pole since Captain Scott’s expedition in 1912, and the first EVER to do so using mechanised vehicles.
In his now famous telegram he told the ‘Massey-Harris- Ferguson Farming Company’:
“Despite quite unsuitable conditions of soft snow and high altitudes our Fergusons performed magnificently and it was their extreme reliability that made our trip to the Pole possible. Stop. Thank you for your good wishes = Hillary”
At the time the press described this as the ‘The Last Great Journey in the World’, although the expedition’s official title was The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955-58. Led by Englishman Sir Vivian Fuchs its aim was to be the first to cross the continent overland while gathering scientific data.
Fuchs’ plan was to make the journey from each side of the continent with teams including men from Britain, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Hillary led the New Zealand team and their primary role was to set up depots and stash supplies of fuel, food and equipment in a line towards the Pole.
It was this supply work, which first brought Hillary into contact with the Ferguson TE20s. The tractor had already established itself a good Antarctic reputation in 1954 when one tractor worked for 565 hours without the need for a single repair after arriving on the continent on February 13 in temperatures of -10° C.
So when faced with unloading and transporting 500 tonnes of stores across 16 km from the ship to his base camp it is not surprising Hillary turned again to the Fergie: “For unloading the ship it was necessary, of course, to have vehicles. Our problem was overcome by the generosity of Massey-Harris- Ferguson in the UK and their agents in C.B. Norwood in New Zealand. These firms lent us five Ferguson tractors modified to operate in snow conditions,” he wrote.
Hillary’s journey across Antarctica traversed deep crevasses in the snow and ice. Eventually the team reached Depot 700 on 15 December 1957 – despite nearly losing a tractor down a crevasse. It (and its driver) was only saved by the roll-bar jamming against the wall of the ice and holding the vehicle up.
On reaching this destination Hillary commented: “Our Ferguson’s had brought us over 1250 miles (2000 km) of snow and ice, crevasses, soft snow and blizzard to be the first vehicles to drive to the South Pole.”
One of the actual Ferguson TE20s (named ‘Sue’ by the team) that was used on this remarkable expedition is now in the Massey Ferguson Technology Centre in Beauvais, France.
What extreme conditions do you put your tractor through?