Chris Wilson has been busy on a recent visit to Sandstone


Our tractor “guru” Chris Wilson has been busy on a recent visit to Sandstone identifying tractors to be showcased at the Summer Steam Festival from the 17th to 19th November 2023. One of these is a Case L , dating from before WW2, which has not been run for over 15 years. The Case L was built between 1929-1940 in Wisconsin, USA.


The White 2270 Tractor under restoration.


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Chris Wilson, Sandstone’s tractor guru, is restoring an exciting tractor at his workshop in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ox Power!

Ox Power!
In 2018 we inspanned 36 Oxen at Sandstone, which we believe to be a world record. As regular readers of our web site we thought you would enjoy seeing this fascinating video again which gives an excellent insight into the Oxen, managing them and the people who manage them. Enjoy the show!


The John Deere 9400. A modern classic!

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The John Deere 9400. A modern classic!

Our John Deere 9400 tractor is now 25 years old and has become part of the agricultural heritage at Sandstone,

Click on the PDF to read its story.

New life in the Donkey herd.

New life in the Donkey herd.

Recently we had the birth of a new donkey foal at Sandstone. He has been named Kagiso after the famous South African cricketer, Kagiso Rabada!

Our pictures show Kagiso with his mother and also some information, courtesy of Wikipedia, on the Kagiso who inspired the name for the new born!
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A classic BM Volvo 600 tractor

Recently a classic BM Volvo 600 tractor was donated to Sandstone by a farmer in the Memel district of the Free State in South Africa.

Oxen and the Soya harvest, an historical approach. A real step back in time!

Recent weather events at Sandstone Estates led to a unique harvesting approach for the Soya crop from way back in time. Click here to read more

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Sandstone latest restoration, the Oliver 1950.

Sandstone has just completed a restoration of the Oliver 1950 tractor. Oliver Tractors came about from a merger of four companies in 1929 and continued to manufacture tractors until acquisition by the White Motor Company in 1960. The new company continued to manufacture tractors up to 1974 when the Oliver name was dropped. Interestingly we have a White M5 military vehicle from WW2 in the Sandstone collection.

FIAT tractors were also marketed under the Oliver name in North America during the mid-1970s, such as the Oliver 1465 tractor.

This model was designed as an agricultural tractor and mostly marketed as such in Oliver’s green and white colours. The industrial version was a wholly Oliver designed alternative, and contemporary photos show it in yellow with a heavy duty drawbar and no 3 point hitch, exactly as Sandstone’s example.

Interestingly for a model launched in 1964 it was available as a two and four wheel drive. The four wheel drive appears to be mechanical, although there are fleeting references to a hydrostatic front wheel assist option, much more common in the ‘60’s.

Our tractor expert, Chris Wilson, has examined a lot of photos and thinks Sandstone’s version was originally four wheel drive, but has been converted to two wheel drive, presumably due to a failure in the 4wd drive train.

Technical Data:

Manufactured in Charles City, Iowa, from 1964 t0 1967.  According to the serial number, 295-9203, Sandstone’s was manufactured in 1965.

Powered by a GM 3.5litre 4cyl 4-53 engine, giving 105Hp through the PTO.

The wheelbase of the 4wd, at 85”, is short for a tractor of this power, which probably reduced its traction and explains the massive ballasting on the rear wheels.   The weight, un-ballasted, was approximately 6 tons.

The transmission was 6 speed, with a partial power shift option, Hydra-Power, on each gear giving 12 speeds in total. In service many of the Hydra Power boxes were “locked up”, due to un-reliability.

Our photo gallery shows the Oliver as restored and on its first drive at Sandstone with a compaction roller.

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Sandstone’s International Harvester collection.

Many years ago a wonderful retired farmer Jannie du Toit from the Western Cape gifted his collection to the Sandstone Heritage Trust.  Sandstone already had a reasonable cross section of International Harvester products and so we decided to consolidate all International Harvester products into one facility.  A special building was designated for the purpose and today it houses a wide variety of International Harvester products.  These include tractors going back as far as the Mogul, the first tractor produced by International Harvester.  The tractor range is considerable and is representative of probably 90% of the tractor types made by this company.  It is complimented by a wide variety of implements including balers, reapers, mowers, etc., in additional we have an International Harvester service truck which came from a genuine International Harvester dealer in Natal.  We compliment this with a  grader.  All in all it does provide a very excellent representation of the products supplied by this wonderful company.

Sandstone inspans 36 Oxen for World Record attempt.

Ron Nel of Frameline has completed another excellent video production entitled, “Ox Power”. Click on the link to view. You will learn something about these magnificent animals!

Lanz Tractors at Sandstone

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For many years the Sandstone Heritage Trust has maintained a large collection of Lanz and John Deere Lanz tractors. They are very specialised and not all vintage tractor collectors are familiar with them.

The Ox Wagon Collection

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Sandstone has a representative collection of Ox Wagons, many of which were restored by Professor Eric Holm from the University of Pretoria, the acknowledged expert on these wagons. Professor Holm has kindly written a potted history of each one.

Something special

A few days ago our fine team in our Livestock Department successfully in-spanned 36 Afrikaner Oxen pulling one wagon. We have been doing a considerable amount of research on how big these spans really were and the closest we really came to an accurate assessment was from some photographs taken in the Anglo Boer Way by a British Officer which clearly indicated there were 34 oxen pulling a wagon through the Wilge River. We then also received written confirmation of this achievement in a letter sent back to the UK. We can assume therefore that 34 was the maximum number ever in-spanned because the Officer in question expressed astonishment at the sight. We decided to go one better and in-span 36. If you look closely at the photo below you will see that there are some very young oxen in the span but this is also very good for them because it is part of their training routine. We will be in-spanning 36 during Stars 2019 but only on a few occasions because we need to rest them so the rest of the time there will be oxen in-spanned in teams of about a dozen at a time but they will be in-spanned all day, every day for those that would like to see them up close. See also the video of this achievement:

One score and ten!

The Sandstone Oxen team have reached another milestone with the inspanning of 30 Oxen during a training exercise. The initial plan was for 32 oxen but a broken yoke foiled the plan but this will happen soon. Well done to the team!

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Preserving the best of our past for the future.

Sandstone’s motto is never forgotten and a recent auction at Belfast saw us put it into action with the purchase of a number of classic tractors and agricultural equipment plus a very rare and complete Marshall steam portable  and a  veteran Mercedes truck that may well have gone for scrapping

The tractors include a Massey Ferguson 35X, A Massey Harris 55 and a McCormick-Deering B450, believed to be quite rare. The items have now been moved to Sandstone as our picture shows for future restoration although some of the tractors and the Mercedes truck are believed to be in working order.

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