50 Years of Questions & Answers
Last week’s Bathurst Edition quiz question drew a huge response when we asked if anyone who had seen success at Bathurst, had also achieved success in converting war surplus equipment to suit applications in construction, mining and forestry? ... and if so, who, what did he build, and what level of success was achieved at Bathurst? The answers along with our next quiz question can be found by clicking here.
Bruce McPhee is a Bathurst legend - seen here with his Tank-based overloader loading a GMC 6x6 truck with half track conversion
Answer: Bruce McPhee spent the bulk of his life on the Central Coast of New South Wales. He traded in war surplus equipment in Wyong before deciding to convert it into various types of equipment.
Bruce’ conversions of war surplus equipment were amongst the most professional in Australia, although he lamented that this did not necessarily equate to money.
The equipment was built under the Cadmac brand, and the best known were transporters/tippers for the sand mining industry. There were 3 half track tippers used on Stradbroke Island. Centurion tracks were grafted onto Canadian GMC 6-wheel-drive trucks.
A Caterpillar 12 grader was modified with smaller diameter tyres on the tandems, with bren gun carrier tracks with ice grousers fitted over the outside of the tyres. This was used by the Snowy Mountains Authority.
Two tippers for Rutile & Zircon Mines were based on General Grant M4A2 tank chassis: one ran a GM 6-71 diesel and tipped to the rear while the other had a GM V8-71 engine and tipped forwards. Both had a capacity of 15 tons, which was well in advance of other equipment designed to operate in these conditions in the early 1960s. Units were also built for the Hydro Electric Commission and Betchel Pacific, with both units working in Tasmania. The tank-based units were sold as Fastracks.
Photo Caption: Cadmac Fastrac 15-ton transporter based on tank mechanicals and used in sand mining
The General Grant tank was also the base for an 8 cubic yard cable-operated overloader built in 1960. This unit was too big for the available trucks and was scrapped after working on 2 dam projects.
The Tusker was a log loader based on a White Staghound armoured car. This was available in 2- and 4-wheel-steer, with the cab mounted over the forks for excellent operator vision. A patented cam lock allowed the loader to pluck a single log out of a pile. Around half a dozen were made.
The Staghound was also the basis of a hydraulic slewing crane with a single manual extension. The turret pump was used to power the hydraulics. Bruce also built a rig that carried a blade on a pole joining 2 Staghounds. This was used for push-pull backfilling of swamp but was built more to prove that it could be done than with commercial intent.
Photo Caption: 1964 prototype Quadtrack articulated 4-track 5-ton transporter: the only Cadmac machine that did not use war surplus components
Another engineering exercise (and the only one that did not use war surplus parts) was the Quad-Track: an articulated 4-track transporter with a 5-ton capacity. It ran a GM270 petrol engine driving through a 4-speed Hydramatic transmission to pneumatic tyres that friction-drove the idlers in each section of the machine. It was similar in concept to the (later) Lockheed Dragon used by the US military, but only a prototype was built (in 1966).
Our new question:
When was the first 4x4 wheel loader with a capacity of 1 cubic yard or more designed and built in Australia? (Just give the decade e.g. 1970s)
Bonus question: who built it and where?
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