Product Category: Crop Handling Equipment

Product Type: Bag Loaders

Brandname: McKay's

Model: Perkins' Patent

Manufacturer: H.V. McKay Sunshine Harvester Works; H.V. McKay Pty Ltd

Where Made: Sunshine, Victoria, Australia

Distributor: H.V. McKay / H.V. McKay Pty Ltd

Production Dates: by 1906 [5] to 1928+ [1]

Size/Capacity: 5 ft and 6 ft [1]

Horse or oxen powered lifter for raising sown bags of grain onto a dray or trailer

* Quick attachment to bracket permanently fixed on dray [1]
* 5 & 6 ft sizes to suit ordinary and table top wagons [1]
* Special bracket also allows use with English Pattern wagons [1]
* Includes new strengthened connection to wagon (by 1928) [1]


Other Comments:
This device was originally invented by Mr Robert Perkins, of Ucolta, near Peterborough, South Australia.

"Mr. Perkins was ... the inventor of the bag-lifter, one of the greatest labor saving devices for farm work. This invention was patented in 1884, and notwithstanding a series of poor seasons, Mr. Perkins sold between 1,600 and 1,700 during the time that he personally controlled the patent rights. [By the 1920s] ... the "Perkins" bag-lifter ... [could] be found on practically every wheat farm in the Commonwealth [of Australia]. [Being] ... regarded as a necessity. Mr Perkins evolved many other useful labor-saving devices, [for] ... the lightening of household and dairy work on the farm, and, amongst other things, employed power to do the washing, separating, and churning." [3]

It [was] ... for his work in connection with the advancement of agricultural machinery that he is best known. He doubled the width of the Ridley stripper, creating the germ of the idea that ... developed into the harvester. He was also the inventor of the first seed drill. This was an automatically controlled and geared seed box attached to a plough, which sowed the seed as the furrow was turned over. It was first tried on the farm of Mr. Joseph Alford, at Woodside, in 1864, and performed the work well ... [being] undoubtedly the beginning of what is to-day the combined cultivator and seed and fertiliser drill, which has been one of the principal factors in revolutionising agricultural methods." [3]

Robert Perkins was one of the longest surviving pioneers of South Australia having been born at Mount Baker in about 1841, where his father Richard Perkins was a bootmaker, who in those early days carried leather for his trade on his back over the 22 mile (35 km) journey from Adelaide. When Robert was nine years of age, the family moved northwards to Woodside, where his father acquired the Woodford Farm. At the age of 26, he left home and moved to the South-East, where he selected land at Naracoorte, in 1869, and two years later married Mary Ann, the eldest daughter of Mr. G. Barber, of Modbury. In 1877, the couple moved their young family to the hundred of Gumbowie to farm at Ucolta, near Peterborough, where Robert spent the rest of his life. He died at the age of 88, on Tuesday 29th October 1929, at the Prospect residence of his sister. He was survived by his wife, seven daughters and 19 grandchildren. His only son, A.G. Perkins, was killed while serving with the A.I.F. during WWI. [3,4]

Export Markets:

Patents: Perkins' Patent

Free on Rails at Melbourne or Ballarat: £ 2/10/- Terms 30 days; Cash on Delivery £ 0/1/3 Discount. (1906-7) [5]


  1. TL 009507, Publicity Leaflet - Hugh.V. McKay, Bag Loader, 1928 - Museums Victoria, Trade Literature Collection.
  2. TL 015181, Catalogue - H.V. McKay, 'Sunshine Harvester Works', Agricultural Implements, circa 1907 - Museums Victoria, Trade Literature Collection.
  3. 'A Pioneer Inventor', Chronicle (Adelaide, S.A.), 23 Jul 1927, p.47 [illustrated],
  4. 'Death of Mr. Robert Perkins', The Times & Northern Advertiser (Peterborough, S.A.), 1 Nov 1929, p.2,
  5. TL 020522, Price List - 'H.V. McKay's, 'Season 1906-1907', 'Sunshine Harvester ... Tillage Implements & Other Farm Accessories', Melbourne, Victoria, Jan 1906, p.55 - Museums Victoria, Trade Literature Collection.

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