This collection encompasses a diverse range of material in the fields of animal husbandry, agriculture, economic botany, food technology and textile technology.

The most significant element of the collection relates to agricultural equipment manufacturer and innovator H.V. McKay. The history of this agricultural enterprise spans from its inception in the 1880s to the present day and forms one of the largest industrial collections in Australia. It provides a window on Australian innovation, agriculture, manufacture, working lives and community life.

The collections take on new meaning with passing time. The large collection of wax models of fruit and vegetables, originally developed for 19th century international exhibitions, now plays a vital role in contributing to our understanding of contemporary issues of biodiversity.

Significant items:

  • Models of agricultural equipment commissioned by Museum's first director Frederick McCoy in the 1860s.
  • Early stump jump plough and stump jump plough models.
  • Early Victorian windmills made James Alston and John Abrahams.
  • McCook Collection of models, photographs and trade literature relating to windmills.
  • Dethridge irrigation meter.
  • Humble & Nicholson portable steam engine.
  • Cowley steam traction engine.
  • Quinlivan 4-wheel-drive traction engine model.
  • Ferguson TEA-20 tractor.
  • H.V. McKay Collection: the original McKay farm smithy, 1906 stripper harvester, HST header harvester, Sunshine auto header, rare Sunshine tractor, equipment models, business archives, trade publications, films and photographs.
  • International Harvester Collection: comprising images, trade literature, newspaper clippings and documents relating to the marketing and manufacture of agricultural equipment by the American based International Harvester Company.
  • Daniel Harvey Collection of trade literture and photographs relating to a small specialist firm producing orcharding and fruit grading equipment at Box Hill.
  • Women on Farms Gathering Collection.
  • Trade literature of agricultural equipment manufacturers and distributors, including over 12,000 product catalogues and brochures and 3,500 advertisements.
  • Extensive collection of economic botany samples, much of it originally displayed at 19th century exhibitions - including items prepared by government botanist Ferdinand von Mueller in the 1860s.
  • More than 1,900 wax and vegetable fruit models with sketch books and moulds, many of which depict varieties no longer grown commercially.
  • Jack Chisholm Fencing Collection - including 1,200 samples of barbed wire and fencing tools.
  • May Vale painted timber samples - including many rare and endangered native Australian timbers.
  • Pacific Hydro wind turbine.

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