Tucker Sno-Cat

At the start of the 1950s, the Tucker Sno Cat appeared in the Australian Alps. At least one unit was ordered for use in Victoria, while in NSW several were introduced by the Snowy Mountain Authority (SMA) to access some of the more remote snowbound regions required for the development of teh Snowy Mountains Scheme. Later, from the picture evidence found it appears at least some of these were sold into commercial use, and some were purchased new by commercial operators. At least three Tuckers still exist today. The number of Tuckers used in the Snowies is unknown and any information in this regard would be appreciated. If you’re interested in the marque, this site provides a good range of information on Tucker Sno-Cats:
http://timwafer.com/Tucker/tucker.html

The earliest picture I can find is this one dated c.1945, however it is more likely to have been taken post-1949 as the SMA was only formed in 1949. The Tucker appears to be a Utility double drive 443 sedan model.
Picture: State Library of Victoria

A fascinating picture of what is thought to be the State Electricity Commission’s (Kiewa, VIC) single pontoon Tucker 423 Sedan model c.1950 in the Victorian Alps.
Picture: State Library of Victoria

Dating from 1951 is this nice picture of one of the SMA's Sno-Cats doing what Sno-cats are made for at Spencer' Creek in the NSW Snowies. This appears to be a 443 Sedan as also in many of the following shots.
Picture: National Archives of United Kingdom

Dating from c.1951 are the above picture and the following four, this appearing to be a series taken during the visit of Senator Bill Spooner who was overseeing the SMA at the time. All vehicles appear to be Tucker model 443 Sedans.
Picture: National Archives of Australia

At Kiandra.
Picture: National Archives of Australia

Picture: National Archives of Australia

SMA serial number of this Tucker appears to be 20-A-2.
Picture: National Archives of Australia

The cab looks to have been fairly small! Interestingly this looks to be SMA serial number 20-A-1, a different Tucker 443 to that the Senator is standing next to above.
Picture: National Archives of Australia

Another early shot and description of the SECV single pontoon Tucker 423 sedan model, this one dated 1952.
Picture: From The Australian Snow Pictorial, ParkMonkey via Aus Ski Forum

The above picture was taken in the 1950s to show the communications the field had from their Tucker. Given the spacious interior, the picture may have been taken inside the SMA’s Tucker Freighter Double Drive 743 model.
Picture: W.Pedersen, National Archives of Australia

This 1955 picture shows the SMA’s Tucker Freighter Double Drive 743 model.
Picture: W.Pedersen, National Archives of Australia

Another 1955 picture of a SMA 743 Freighter, this time at Mt Guthrie, Charlotte Pass.
Picture: W.Pedersen, National Archives of Australia

Though dated 1956, this picture may have been taken in the same session, again showing a SMA 743 Freighter, this time apparently taking supplies to a snowed in area.
Pictures: W.Pedersen, National Archives of Australia


Though the above two pictures are listed as dating from 1956 and 1957, I think they are probably a sequence taken at the same time during one of these years showing a SMA 743 Tucker preparing to be, and being loaded onto a flat bed AEC? Matador? (Confirmation would be appreciated) truck, likely for either servicing, storage at the end of winter, or transport to another snowbound site.
Picture: W.Pedersen, National Archives of Australia

The pictures above (heading up to the summit of Mt Buller) and below (nose of the 423 at the summit) were kindly donated by a member of the Apira Ski Club, and show a Tucker 423 Sedan model run by John Hilton Wood at Mt Buller, taking skiers to the summit in the 1950s before lifts were installed. The 423 is likely the ex-SECV Tucker noted above.
Picture: Apira Ski Club Member

Picture: Apira Ski Club Member

This picture in the National Alpine Museum of Australia's collection likely shows the 423 model Tucker around the same time.
Picture: National Alpine Museum of Australia

Another 1957 shot of a SMA 743 Freighter, this time showing supplies being loaded at Island Bend.
Picture: W.Pedersen, National Archives of Australia

Another picture of the single pontoon 423 model Tucker towing skiers up Mount Buller, this time in 1958.
Picture: MR via AusSkiForum

The English J.Lyons Tea company produced a card series (Series 4) in 1959 on Australia which included this shot of one of the Snowy Mountains Scheme's Tuckers in the field near what is thought to be Guthega.
Picture: J.Lyons Tea

An SMA 443 Sedan shown parked at what is thought to be Cabramurra in 1960, note the SMA number 2-S-4 on the rear cabin wall.
Picture: Wolfgang Sievers, National Library of Australia

An SMA 443 model Tucker (number 1-S-4) shown in the NSW Main Range, probably around the same time as the previous picture.
Picture: Ralph Zollinger Collection

Above are two pictures from a fold-out postcard with NSW Snowy scenes that has "Purchased in New Adaminaby, 1960" handwritten on it, helping to date the pictures to thereabouts. Both show a 743 Freighter in the resorts' employ at the time.
Pictures: Nucolorvue Productions

At some stage during the early 1950s, the ski resorts in NSW purchased several Tucker Sno-Cats, they are later noted in use by Ansett Pioneer during the mid 1960s. The picture above shows a 743 freighter in 1962
Picture: “The Snowy Mountains of Australia : in natural colour”, Nucolorvue Productions, 1962

Another 1962 shot from the Nucolorvue booklet showing a Tucker doing what it does best! It is not known whether this is an SMA or ski resort Tucker.
Picture: “The Snowy Mountains of Australia : in natural colour”, Nucolorvue Productions, 1962

This picture kindly donated by the Kalymaro Ski Club shows one of the NSW Tuckers repainted into the Pioneer livery of blue and white in company with a Snow Trac at Lake Albina Lodge during the "Big Snow" of 1964, and prior to this lodge being removed in concert with the cessation of skiing on the Main Range by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Picture: Kalymaro Ski Club

The following set of pictures have been very kindly made available by the Flxible Clipper Club of Australia (http://flxibleclipperclub.com.au/wp/ ) and show Tucker Sno-Cats also during the 1964 season.

Having just offloaded a group of skiers for skiing on the Main Range
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

Two Sno-Cats at the summit of Kosciuszko, note the trig marker.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

Two Tuckers well loaded with supplies including a sled full, possibly at Perisher Valley.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

Oops, a mishap at an unknown location, possibly between Perisher Valley and Smiggin Holes.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

Loading/unloading at an unknown location
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

Here one of the Tuckers seems to have lost its' Pioneer livery markings (perhaps a later shot?) and is seen with a previously unknown sled that looks like one of Tucker's production sleds. Unknown location however possibly Smiggin Holes.
Picture: Flxible Clipper Club of Australia

This 1966 picture titled “a woman officer of the Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics explaining a form to a snow cat operator”, provides a closer view of one of the Pioneer Tuckers.
Picture: National Archives of Australia This picture is thought to be from a postcard of the same era noting this Tucker's name "Hep Cat" and showing the Pioneer livery quite well.
Picture: Ralph Zollinger Collection

This picture is dated 1966 and though this copy is not brilliant, it shows a single pontoon Tucker 423 Sedan model still at work in the Victorian Alps. The picture is a mystery as the record notes it as an SEC Tucker, however I had thought the single SEC 423 Tucker was sold for commercial use at Mt.Buller quite a few years before, as shown in the pictures above. Perhaps there were two of them? Any clarification would be appreciated.
Picture: Museum Victoria


Also from 1966 is this Weetbix Collectors Card picture of a Pioneer Tours 443 Sedan, note the Tucker branding standing out in factory orange on the pontoons.
Picture: Damien Breitfuss Collection

This 1967 picture shows two Tuckers, a 743 Freighter (left) and a 443 sedan (right) in the Pioneer “Clipper” livery and here transporting guests at Boonoona Lodge, Perisher Valley.
Picture: Hans Oversnow, Jindabyne


The above picture may be of one of the last uses of Tuckers in the NSW Snowies. From the skiiers outfits and buildings at Charlottes Pass, this picture seems to date from either the late 1970s or early 1980s and shows a later model 743 in the service of the Kosciusko Chalet. My assumption is this was its final assignment before being retired as in the below pictures what is very likely the same Tucker is seen out of use well away from the Snow in recent years, still wearuing the same livery.
Picture: Damien Breitfuss Collection

These two pictures show the late model 743 Freighter referred to above in retirement at a collector's property in Western Victoria, a long way from its previous snowy home! I have tried without succss to contact the online owner of these pictures regarding reposting, so if reading this please ler me know so I can confirm permission.
Pictures: http://centurion-mbt.tripod.com/cent-mbt1.htm

At some stage the Tuckers were retired, and while the fate/whereabouts of all of them is not known, one of the 743 Freighters has been rescued by Hans Oversnow whose intention is to one day restore it to glory. Well done Hans Oversnow on taking the trouble to retain this piece of Snowy Mountains history! The pictures following were taken during a visit to their headquarters in 2006, showing the now faded Pioneer livery and some of the original Tucker orange showing through.

Picture: Andrew Collier


Picture: Andrew Collier

Picture: Andrew Collier

Picture: Andrew Collier

Picture: Andrew Collier

The following three pictures show a Double Drive 743 model beautifully restored by the National Alpine Museum of Australia and displayed at Mt.Buller village, here photographed during Spring 2011. According to the information displayed, this Tucker was used to transport Mt.Buller staff around the resort from 1968 until the early 1970s.

Picture: Andrew Collier

Picture: Andrew Collier

Picture: Andrew Collier
 
For some time I have been trying to work out the whereabouts of the model 423 Tucker that worked at Mount Buller, it eluding me during my visit there. It had been on display outside the National Alpine Museum of Australia however was gone when I visited. I was alerted by I think Ralph Zollinger at Hans Oversnow that it still existed and had been moved down to the Ski Hire centre in Mansfield. I likely drove right past it on the way to Mt Buller... Anyway, until I can get there again, here is a picture of the 423 as presently preserved at the Ski Hiree courtesy of Google Maps.
Picture: Google Maps