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This distinctive Saw Doctor's wagon was the home and workshop of Harold Wright for more than 30 years. Wright migrated from England to Australia in 1930. During the Depression of the 1930s, national unemployment levels reached over 30 per cent and many people travelled as itinerant workers to survive.

Side view of an elaborately decorated wagon on a single axle, with a red canvas roof and various tools, compartments and handmade signs.

Saw Doctor's travelling home and workshop


Harold Wright (about 1905–1969), a young English carpenter, arrived in Melbourne at the height of the Depression. In 1935 he used the little money he had saved to convert a horsedrawn wagon into a combined workshop and home. For the next 34 years he travelled throughout eastern Australia, promoting himself as the ‘Saw Doctor’.

Along the way, Wright met and married Dorothy Jean McDougall and together they raised a daughter, Evelyn May. The family had dogs, cats and chickens and they rarely spent more than a few days in any one place.

One of the framed photographs that adorn the wagon, showing Harold Wright at work.

Harold Wright

Wright affectionately named the wagon the 'Road Urchin' and attracted business by decorating it with signs, trinkets and bright paint. He used a variety of grinding wheels and files to sharpen all manner of items, including saws, scissors, lawnmower blades, knives and shears.


Steel files and tools

Vice and blade


Wagon and tractor conservation

The arrival of the dilapidated wagon and tractor at the Museum signalled the beginning of an extensive conservation project to rejuvenate and stabilise it. It took 6 months just to clean it, using a process of brush vacuuming and washing. Then the wagon, tractor and contents were treated to prevent further deterioration.

Conservators stitched and reinforced the torn canvas awnings, stabilised and wax-coated the paintwork, and restored the tractor engine to working condition.

In our collection

Trailer of the 'Saw Doctor's Wagon' or 'Road Urchin' once operated by 'Saw Doctor', Harold WrightSaw Doctor' s Wagon, created by Mr Harold Wright and used to travel around rural Victoria, to small towns and properties in the Wangaratta/Albury-Wodonga region, where he would sharpen saws and other tools and fix other items as requested.
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