Jeparit is the birthplace of Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies. People might already know this, but did you know Jeparit is also the birthplace of Ryko the Byko.

‘Edward Reichenbach’ jumped on his pushbike in 1914 and rode from Adelaide to Darwin in a record breaking 29 days. Did you know that Alfred Traeger invented the pedal-powered radio that was used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service? He was born in Jeparit too.

Discover these stories and other local history at the Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum’s annual vintage rally this Queens Birthday weekend.

In 1838, 180 years ago, Edward John Eyre passed through this area trying to find a direct stock route from Sydney to Adelaide. This was the beginning of pioneer settlement in the area.

The Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum showcases the transition from this first European encounter in the mid 1800’s to the war days of the 1940’s. The first 100 years of European settlement.

The museum is home to one of the largest collections of machinery and household items in Australia. It is run by a small and dedicated team of volunteers and exhibits a diverse range of pioneering history of the region; from homesteads, furnishings and household inventions, horse drawn carriages and buggies, tractors, harvesters, to assorted grain equipment.

There are farmer inventions that helped settle and create the farmland and history of the region, such as the stump jump plough and the horse or oxen pulled Mallee rollers. Many of the exhibits in the museum are still operating and will be showcased during the Vintage Rally.

This is the 11th annual rally, being held on the Queen’s Birthday weekend, June 9 and 10. There will be a vast array of exhibitors attending and assisting with their knowledge and experience, and sharing their stories and history of the pioneers. These include vintage car clubs and a huge array of working tractors and engines.

The Sandy Creek Clydesdales will be present again which is a crowd favourite, and they will be putting one of the Museum’s vintage ploughs to work in the paddock across the road, along with a chaff cutting demonstration at the horse-works.

For the ladies and gents alike there will be heritage stalls, and Debra Hunter will be returning with her stunning photography. There is also an extensive ballroom dress display thanks to Bev Langley.

Keep the kids entertained on the jumping castle along with horse and carriage rides, or watch the slide show in the Woorak West Methodist Church being run by the Dimboola Historical Society. The Museum’s Blacksmith shop will be forging some interesting items and the Blademan will be back, as will the blade shearers (there might even be a race between the blades and modern technology).

A highlight this year will be the trick horse-riding display on Sunday.

Or maybe visitors might like a quiet sit around the fire cooking damper and drinking billy tea. The food court is packed with vendors and local charities. Don’t miss the Jeparit Primary School cakes and slice stall, spuds and roast fundraising for cancer and of course the traditional Lions Club BBQ.

Around the town the Lutheran Church has a special service on the Sunday morning. The town garage sale is also back, so drop by the museum for a map and discover how beautiful Jeparit is while you are here.

The 11th Annual Vintage Rally runs from 9am to 5pm on Saturday June 9 and Sunday June 10.

Hindmarsh Shire Mayor, Ron Ismay, said, “The Annual Vintage Rally, now in its 11th year, continues to showcase the Wimmera Mallee Pioneer Museum and the pioneering years of agriculture in the region.”

“The dedicated group of volunteers bring together this fantastic event each year which continues to attract visitors to Jeparit and local area,” Mayor Ismay said.

CAPTIONS: (use as many or as few photos as you like)

0588: Members of the Horsham Weavers show off their skills at last year’s Vintage Rally.

0614: A knife making demonstration excited visitors at last year’s annual Vintage Rally.

0592: The chaff cutting demonstration at the horse-works will return this year, much to the delight of the crowd.