Following the start of the Second World War in September 1939, the Power Farming Association in Victoria developed a scheme to train women to drive tractors to replace men from rural areas who enlisted in the armed forces or moved to the city to take up war production employment. In February 1940 by PFA Director Fred Woodward, outlined a training program of 30 hours of practical and classroom training for women who wished to volunteer. Tractors and equipment were provided free of charge by seven leading manufacturers and dealers including International Harvester, H.V. McKay Massey Harris and Lane's Motors.
The initial group of 14 trainees were selected from 100 applicants in March 1940 and the first practical training session was conducted at Sunshine on 6 April 1940. This group had all graduated successfully by early May 1940 and all 14 women drove tractors in the Empire Day parade through central Melbourne on 24 May 1940 to much cheering and applause. However, entrenched resistance to women taking on a traditionally male role was strong and both federal and state governments refused to endorse the scheme. By late 1940 it had been discontinued. By early 1942 a much larger Women's Land Army had to be formed following the Japanese assault on South-East Asia and any objections to women operating farm machinery were swept aside by force of necessity.