Letter from South Australia

This ‘slightly-worn’ HD-14 is one of a pair of Allis-Chalmers tractors that have an interesting backstory. John Schmidt has hunted this tractor down- and wrote to us with the story.

The essence of John’s story is thus.

A pair of HD-14s, one a dozer and the other a towed scraper tug were probably ex WW11 machines that initially ended up on Kangaroo Island, SA. Here they were deployed on a Soldiers Settlers Land Scheme. During this time John Schmidt’s father worked on the towed scraper unit. Fifty years passed and then John Schmidt decided to find the two units, and park himself in the seat his father had worked from.

HD-14 and towed scraper engaged in dam-sinking.

John learned that after being sold from Kangaroo Island the two tractors were sold as a pair to new owners by the names of Googs Denton and Denis Beatty and used for scrub logging. In the 1970s they were engaged to a 4WD track that ran north from Ceduna to Tarcoola alongside the Indian Pacific railway line, known as Googs Track.

John Schmidt-sitting in same tractor as his father(above)

After this huge effort the dozer unit was knackered and the blade was shifted to the non-dozer. Denton and Beatty sold the pair to a bloke called Scotty Salmon, based at Penong, SA. Salmon scrapped the dozer unit and engaged the surviving unit for more scrub clearing.

And this is where John Schmidt would locate the surviving machine, sitting in the scrub and completely intact. After contacting Goog Denton’s widow John visited Penong and found the survivor.

‘It would be a superb restoration project as it is basically completed and would probably still run,.’ says John.

Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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