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Fruit grader, 1947 - 1964
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Fruit grader

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Object statement
Fruit grader and case holder, timber / metal / cloth / rubber, made by Pope, Mayne and Southerden Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1947-1964
The fruit grader is typical of the type of machinery used in a fruit packing shed of the 1960s. Fruit is generally graded by size before being taken to market. It makes the fruit easier to pack and less likely to be damaged during transit. Uniform sizes also enhance the appearance of cases of fruit, an important factor in competitive markets. As a hand-operated machine, it semi-automated the grading process. In 2007 all fruit grading is automated.

The area around the Hawkesbury River is part of the rural hinterland of Sydney. It has been farmed for more than 200 years, with produce being transported to Sydney markets, first by boat, and later by rail and road. River flats in the region are covered with rich topsoil as a result of flooding. Early farmers along the Hawkesbury River displaced Indigenous Australians who had previously thrived in the area.

The grader passed through the ownership of two members of the extended Jurd family who are descended from two of the first European farmers in the district, Daniel and Elizabeth Jurd. Daniel arrived in Australia from England as a convict in 1802 and later received a land grant in the Macdonald Valley on the Hawkesbury River. Daniel and Elizabeth had nine children, and many of their descendants still live in the St Albans area today. The Jurd family were licencees of the famous Settlers Arms Hotel in St Albans for 90 years.

Sandra McEwen, Curator, 2007
This grader was manufactured by Pope, Mayne and Southerden Pty Ltd in Brisbane, some time between the years 1947 to 1964. These are the years for which the company is listed in the Australasian Manufacturers Directory. After 1964, the company became known as PSF Equipment.
The grader was used on a citrus farm near St Albans in the Hawkesbury River district from 1984 to 1991. The farm is called Perry's Run and is on the Broadarm (a creek). It was owned by Reggie Jurd who grew fruit there for fifteen years. He purchased the machine from another member of the extended Jurd family who was retiring from fruit-growing on a nearby farm. Reggie had graded the fruit manually for nine years before buying the grader. The plaque indicates that the grader was purchased at some time from George Howell Farm Machinery Exchange in Penrith.

Reggie grew oranges, mandarins, melons and cattle but his main income was derived from the transport industry. He drove a truck, delivering produce from the St Albans district to the Flemington and Sydney markets. Although the farm was small, it returned about $14,000 each year from the citrus fruit. Reggie Jurd sold the farm in 1991 to Antonia Nagy.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Fruit grader and case holder, timber / metal / cloth / rubber, made by Pope, Mayne and Southerden Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1947-1964

The grader is rectangular in shape, with six bins or hoppers for separating fruit of differing sizes. The front legs are made of timber but the back legs are metal. They support a conveyor belt and an adjustable roller along which the fruit would have rolled. As the pieces of fruit moved along the conveyor belt they would have dropped into bins when they could fit under the roller. Because the roller is angled to create an ever-increasing gap between it and the conveyor belt, small fruit fell into bins before the larger pieces. The roller can be raised or lowered, to suit the size of the fruit. A hand lever on one end turns the conveyor belt but a pulley attached below it indicates that it was also capable of being driven by a small engine or electric motor.

The case holder is made of timber and cantilevers from the front of the grader. It can be moved from one bin to another.
A registered trademark appears on the timber at one end. It consists of the initials PMS within a six-pointed star. PMS also appears in a circle on a metal casing.

A blue metal plaque is attached to the front of the grader. It carries the words,
Production date
1947 - 1964
1300 mm
1760 mm
350 kg

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of Antonia Nagy, 2007
+ Horticulture
+ Agriculture
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{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/373632 |title=Fruit grader |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=20 February 2017 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}

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Object viewed times. Parent IRN: 2101. Master IRN: 2101 Img: 176437 Flv: H:1944px W:2592px SMO:0 RIGHTS:.