About this objectThe Braveheart wagon is an impressive piece of workmanship, a grand ‘ole girl’ from an era now long forgotten when horse and steam power ruled. Braveheart is a very large, restored, wooden wagon from the McMillan family of Rosebank, Eugowra. Crafted and assembled by Robert (Bob) McMillan in 1909 when he was just 27 on the family farm.
Bob was a self-taught carpenter and blacksmith, as many were in those days, and showed a lot of skill and resourcefulness in putting together the wagon. Using what tools were available on the farm, the blacksmith shop and no doubt the manpower from family members the wagon was completed in 1909.
In the old scale; the wagon has eight inch tyres, stands over six foot in height and its tray is 22 feet long.
Newspaper reports and family photos show the wagon in use hauling record loads of produce to Forbes, 22 miles (35kms) away. Normally in conjunction with the other family wagons, “Resurrection” and “Westcott”, being pulled by a traction engine.
The wagon would have not only taken produce to market but been used to haul supplies back as well as perform duties on and around the property. A newspaper article in 1914 reports a load of 10500 bricks, 42 tons, being transported back to Rosebank and a photo shows the wagon with a load of straw being pulled by a tractor.
Rosebank was sold in 1911 and Braveheart was sold to Bob along with the traction engine. Like many fit and able young men, Bob, his brother Viv and nephew Roy, went off to war in 1915, all 3 were killed in action.
After being retired from farm work Braveheart saw many seasons of weather outside before being restored in 2004. The project was driven and overseen by Viv McMillan, nephew of Bob. Carpentry work was completed by David Hyde and the wheels restored by the wheelwright team at Ballarat’s, Sovereign Hill. 100 hundred years since it was built the wagon was once again new and celebrated by being pulled by Wilf Norris’s specially trained team of draught horses in the grand parade at Eugowra Show. A very fitting tribute since Bob McMillan was well known for his produce displays across the region at the local show. In 1912 displaying over 1000 different specimens and no fewer than 91 different varieties of wheat.
The wagon is of historic significance with a full provenance from manufacture, use, restoration and retirement. It is not rare but is uncommon to find such a large wagon still in existence. While having been restored it has been done so sympathetically and in keeping with the original wagon. It’s condition is thereby excellent with a full history of its restoration available. Original newspaper articles, family oral recollections and photographs from the family add to its interpretive capacity. Braveheart is a commanding feature at the Eugowra Historical Museum and Bushranger Centre and I’m sure it will continue to inspire and amaze those that visit and see her in her retirement.
Researched and written by Hayley Lavers, 2020, for Eugowra Historical Museum and Bushranger Centre