Hard working . . . Ron Thornley’s 1965 Farmall 706 International tractor is great for hay bailing and travelling the South Island. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Ron Thornley’s 1965 Farmall 706 International tractor has travelled far and wide.

In 2010, the Pukerau resident drove it around the South Island on a tractor trek to raise money for childhood cancer.

“I drove it from Bluff up the South Island and back to Bluff,” he said.

“I did that trek three times all up and once just halfway up the island.”

Mr Thornley, a retired excavator and operator, is an avid collector of International Harvester and vintage machinery.

He owns 20 tractors and crawlers manufactured by the American company but has enjoyed working with the Farmall.

“It’s a lovely tractor to drive. Very comfortable, with beautiful seat and steering,” he said.

“We tidied it up in 2009 and it’s now done a very high number of hours, somewhere between 17-20,000 hours.”

Mr Thornley said the tractors were typically used for general road crop purposes in the United States but became popular in New Zealand with grain farmers.

“There weren’t many in New Zealand when I first got one but there are at least 20 now that I know of,” he said.

He said he found the Farmall was great to use when baling hay.

Nowadays the tractor does not get out much, although Mr Thornley said he often included it in his small tractor displays.

“Collecting International Harvesters is a bit of a hobby of mine.

‘‘I’m fascinated by the history of the company. I’m running out of space in the shed,” he said.

“Every now and again I put on a small display of the tractors in the paddock over the road if the weather is good.”