Hazelman Story – Trevor, Lorraine and “Moses” (Steam Traction Engine)

    The Hazelman family has been involved with steam engines since the early 1900’s, when steam was the main source of power, they were commercial chaff cutting contractors who used to travel around the Tongala district cutting chaff and sawing firewood for domestic use.
    They continued with steam through till when the early tractors became available being around the 1920’s, steam engines became obsolete in this role but the interest in steam was still carried on by my uncle and father who used it commercially in sawing wood but also as a hobby in the preservation in this type of machinery.
    My uncle Jack Hazelman (deceased) farmed and worked on the chaff cutter for many years, during the war he was released from the army in order to operate it to fulfill the needs of district farmers & he continued sawing wood using the steam engine right until his death in 1987.
    My father Dudley has continued using steam commercially  throughout  his life, he used it to pull trees out around the Kyabram district.  Returning to the farm at Tongala renewed the interest.
    Since purchasing “Moses” from my uncle Jack’s estate 25 years ago, I have found it very satisfying to have the interest as an extra curricular activity off farm. My wife Lorraine was very skeptical that I could restore what she called a “rust bucket” to something we could both be proud of once all the restoration work was completed (which took 12 years), she often talked about “divorce” as I spent all my spare hours working on it, and bringing oil, grease & smuts of burnt rubber into the house!  At the time of purchasing the engine we had a young son Michael and another baby on the way.
    My brother Ashley and myself have been able to continue the interest in steam through the purchase & restoration of our own steam traction engines as a hobby and preserving their historical past. We attend local steam rallies ( Echuca & Kyabram) for fundraising at different events and also for charity events.
    Lorraine says that she was happy in some ways that Trevor had something else to focus on especially in the drought period when the cows were sold and it could mean the end of their farming enterprise, a period of depression settled on her husband’s shoulders, and he would disappear for hours at a time through stress and worry, I knew that he needed something else to divert his attention on and the time he could spend tinkering away, would take his mind off things for a while. Having “Moses” has been beneficial to us, especially in the period of the drought,  as it was something we could focus on to alleviate the pressure and the worry.
    Trevor is the 3rd generation in the Hazelman family continuing the interest in steam with his sons Michael and Jesse being the 4th generation.
    Even though the drought took its toll on families in the district,  we are now in 2012….
    ………. the Hazelman’s and steam engines,  well ….We’re Still Here!