MEMBERS of the Nowra Men’s Shed recently pieced together a puzzle from the past that arrived without instructions and with no guarantee all the parts were intact.
In November it was pile of wood and steel on the ground; now, after hours of careful toil, a bit of head scratching and a few laughs, it is a restored dray that looks as fine as it did when it was in use more than 100 years ago.
The dray belonged to Alex Cochrane’s great grandfather Thomas Cochrane, who had it on a farm in Bega.
“As a child it was just there in a shed in Bega,” Mr Cochrane of Nowra said.
Last year he picked it up and delivered it to the Nowra Men’s Shed as a restoration project for members.
“The guys have done a magnificent job. They have been very patient and very diligent,” he said.
Mr Cochrane’s family has a long history of farming on the South Coast. His grandfather was one of the founding members of the Illawarra Shorthorn Society and the Jersey Herd Society in NSW.
That history meant restoring his great grandfather’s dray was a way to hang on to a tangible piece of his family’s past.
Nowra Men’s Shed members Norm Phillis, Lester Carroll, Barry Dillon and Dave Davies were proud of their efforts.
“A lot of work went into this,” Mr Dillon said.
“It was just pieces of wood when it arrived. We didn’t have any plans to go off.
“It was all trial and error working out where the pieces went.”
As the dray began to take shape the men became more enthusiastic.
Throughout the project Mr Carroll researched drays on the internet and together they brought the old piece back to life.