HE WAS once Sydney's largest architectural model- maker, but these days you'll find Ross Porter tending to one of Australia's largest working collections of 18th century horse-drawn vehicles.
Based in Federal, Mr Porter's Fairbrooke Farm is home to 10 historic carriages, the oldest of which dates back to 1840.
"Each one was made for a different purpose," said Mr Porter, who started his career as a 17-year-old apprentice model-maker on the Sydney Opera House. "They range from commercial vehicles to those used for everyday purposes."
Raised on a dairy farm in the NSW town of Dural, Mr Porter said his affection for vintage horse-drawn vehicles and heavy horses began more than 30 years ago.
"My mission is to keep this part of our history alive and available for future generations," he said. Mr Porter recently teamed up with The Farm in Ewingsdale to win four first places at Queensland's biggest agricultural show, the Ekka.
"There is no better way to showcase farm produce from Byron Bay at the country's biggest agricultural shows than in a horse-drawn carriage that was once used to transport fresh fruit and vegetables," he said. "I really admire what Will Cotterrill is doing with The Farm. It seems we're both committed to keeping the old-world way of life accessible to all in today's fast-paced society."
- Veda Dante
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