Big Lizzie in Red Cliffs
After World War I, Big Lizzie played a big role in clearing land for veteran soldiers in Red Cliffs, Victoria. Here’s everything you need to know about this historic oversized tractor.
The Story of Big Lizzie
The gigantic tractor was built in 1915 by Frank Bottrill, a blacksmith and innovator. He hoped that his innovation would replace camels used to carry heavy loads across the scorching semi-arid deserts. After one year of hard work, the huge tractor, standing at an astonishing 10 metres high, was finally completed.
His next assignment was to transport Big Lizzie to Broken Hill, his planned destination for the huge machine. As a result, he started the two-year journey via the Victoria route, travelling across deserts and rivers to Victoria. Throughout the entire journey, Big Lizzie pulled two trailers behind her.
At one time, the journey was halted for several months because Big Lizzie couldn’t cross the flooded Murray river.
Speaking of Murray river, you’ll also love reading about the Big Murray Cod, one of the most popular and storied Big Things of Australia.
The temporary halt forced Bottrill to seek employment in the local area since he had already exhausted his savings along the way.
Big Lizzie began clearing the 6,000 hectares of Red Cliffs land in 1920, stamping over the thick shrubs and thickets that would have taken forever to clear by hand. It’s said that the enormous tractor cleared 50 Ares of land a day, taking about four years to complete its assignment.
In 1924, Big Lizzie began a new journey towards the Western part of Victoria after completing the Red Cliff assignment. However, the huge tractor couldn’t find more land to clear, so Bottrill decided to abandon her at Glendenning Station.
Big Lizzie sat unused for years until 1971 when she was brought back to Red Cliffs, where she sits under a shelter at Barclay Square.