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2005/69/1 Terrier rotary hoe, metal / rubber, made by Howard Auto-cultivators Ltd, Northmead, New South Wales, Australia, 1952-1960. Click to enlarge.

Terrier rotary hoe

Howard Auto cultivators were extremely important in the development of horticulture and small scale farming in Australia. They were invented by Arthur Clifford Howard, in 1921, and were an Australian innovation. The first hand-operated machines with their own petrol engines were released in 1924. They were less bulky than large ploughing equipment so could be manoeuvred in fruit orchards and vineyards where all the cultivation had previously been done by hand. Rotary hoes are efficient because …


Object No.


Object Statement

Terrier rotary hoe, metal / rubber, made by Howard Auto-cultivators Ltd, Northmead, New South Wales, Australia, 1952-1960

Physical Description

Terrier rotary hoe, metal / rubber, Howard Auto-cultivators Ltd, Northmead, New South Wales, Australia, 1952-1960

The machine consists of two parts: a tractor unit which has a Howard Model L single cylinder, four stroke engine, two hard rubber tyres and two long handles. The rotary hoe component is detachable from the back of the tractor unit. The blades of the hoe are hidden underneath the rotor shield and shield extension which almost reaches the ground. The original orange paintwork is in good condition.


There are numerous marks, the most obvious of which is the little black and white dog denoting the 'Terrier' Rotary hoe. There is also a Howard manufacturers plate screwed on to the hoe. It carries information about the model(L) and the serial No (2728).



970 mm


600 mm



This machine was designed by Howard Auto-Cultivators Ltd. The machine was made by Howard Auto-cultivators Ltd, Windsor Road, Northmead, NSW, Australia. It was first released onto the market in 1952.



This machine was purchased by Leopold Sommer in the 1950s. He used it on his 10 acre hobby farm at Glenbrook, NSW which he purchased in 1939. Leo Sommer was a police officer, the licencing sergeant in Parramatta, and he lived in Parramatta. He cleared rocks and logs on his hobby farm, then used the rotary hoe to cultivate the soil. He was one of the first people in Australia to successfully grow waratahs (Telopea speciosissima) and NSW Christmas bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum) from seed.

Leo Sommer was the only person to own the rotary hoe. When he died his son, Don, offered it to the Museum.


Credit Line

Gift of Don Sommer, 2005

Acquisition Date

21 February 2005

Cite this Object


Terrier rotary hoe 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 17 October 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Terrier rotary hoe |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=17 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}