Historical information

As a youth while working on his father's farm, Hugh Victor McKay became tired of the labour involved in winnowing wheat by hand. In 1884 he built the first machine in the world which did the winnowing in conjunction with the reaping.

On Monday 21st August 1944, which coincided with the birthday of the late H. V. McKay, more than 2000 employees and friends of H. V. McKay Massey Harris Pty Ltd were entertained at the Melbourne Town Hall, in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Sunshine Harvester Works.The event was planned to "turn it on for the boys' in a manner befitting the occasion."

The compere was Eric Pearce (of later TV newsreader fame) and the entertainment was provided by leading performers of song (W.M.Laird and Mary Miller), of music (John Robertson, W.M.King, and the Sunshine Brass Band), and of humour (Charles Sherman). The accompanists for some of the performances were Betty Miller and Eric Fox.

Two films depicting the activities of the Sunshine Works were shown, and the managing director Mr C. N. McKay, was presented with a book by Mr Fred Bult who had 50 years service with the company. The book contained more than 1000 signatures from invited employees who had completed more than 10 years of service,

Supper was provided in the Lower Hall, and the MC for dancing to the Synco-Harvesters Dance Band in the Main Hall was James Patrick.

The committee which organised the function were Messrs. L.W. King (Chairman), G. Baker, J. Downing, R. Stewart, F. J. Lee, V. Armstrong, F. Fields, J. Aird, G. Wilson, J. G. McKay, T. N. McArthur, and R. Webb, with secretaries Messrs. G. Shaw and D. J. McKay.

The above information was compiled from the Souvenir Programme, and from The Argus of Tuesday 22 August 1944 which can be viewed at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11357700, and from the Sunshine Advocate of Friday 30 June 1944.


The Souvenir Programme provides a historical record of how the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated, as well as the type of entertainment and the names of the entertainers and other people involved. It also lists the types of dances such as the 'Fox Trot' and the 'Pride of Erin' that were normal entertainment in 1944.

The Souvenir Programme is also significant in what it does not tell us. There is absolutely no indication of what would be considered to be a supper for an event like this in 1944, especially in the Melbourne Town Hall. From a historical point of view it would be interesting to know.

Physical description

Beige coloured cardboard document which is folded in two, and has brown coloured printing on three of the four sides. The document provides a detailed list of the entertainment and the presentations held in the Melbourne Town Hall, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Sunshine Harvester Works.

Inscriptions & markings