The owner of Randells Ranch Museum, Jan Randell, was born in Cape Town in 1945.
His parents decided to try their hand at farming, and moved to a town called Ermelo in the old Transvaal province, now known as Mpumalanga, shortly after Jan was born. His father, Edwin Randell, had a passion for machines and how their mechanics worked.
He became the first farmer in the area to buy a tractor when he bought a Minneapolis Moline U in 1945, and began ploughing the fields with it.
The neighbouring farmers all came to watch the tractor working, because it was the first time they’d ever seen a machine pulling a plough - quite a change to the oxen that they were used to!
Soon after in 1948 his father bought his second tractor, a Fordson Major. Later in 1952 he bought a Lanz Bulldog 25, and then a second Lanz 28 in 1954.
His sons, Pieter and Jan, grew up on the farm with tractors, and a father that loved nothing better than to teach them all about mechanics. This enabled the boys to develop a passion for tractors, especially the ones they grew up with.
In 2007, a friend of Jan’s took him to Hannes Rothmann in Amersfoort to look at his old tractors.
There, Jan saw a Lanz Bulldog 25 and as Hannes told him the history of the tractor and where he bought it, they came to the conclusion that it must have been the very same Lanz his father had owned.
Exited about his findings, Jan desperately wanted the tractor. However, Hannes was only willing to sell the Lanz if Jan would consider buying the whole collection. That is how it all began…
Over the next few years, Jan bought a big Farmall collection from Artchie Bartelman in Clockelaan. He then met Willie Ludeke at Rouxville and added his collection to the museum.
He bought a few 8 series John Deere tractors from Piet Combrink in Delmas, and also acquired a selection of Allis Charmer tractors from Jan Joubert in Reitz.
At this moment, Jan and his team are still restoring rare tractor models with the help of Hannes.
The museum also spread its wings and added old cars, trucks, motorbikes, old engines, old church organs and even a 1948 Beechcraft Bonanza 35 Aero plane to the collection.
Jan and his older brother Pieter are still farming east of Ermelo, right where it all began in 1945. Their sons are also keen farmers, and the Randell family will be farming for many years to come.