A VINTAGE tractor has been rescued from the auction that will see one of the area's oldest schools go under the hammer this weekend.
The tractor was donated to Bilbul Public School in the 1970s by the local Forner family, who were horrified to hear it was listed as part of the auction.
They wasted no time in swooping in to reclaim it.
"We got in touch with the agent and he told us to write a letter to the department of education, imploring them to return it," Ines Forner said.
"We were lucky to get it back. We wanted to make sure it stayed in the area and now we can guarantee that it will."
Ines' husband Renato and his brother Charlie gave the tractor to the school as a playground toy after they upgraded their machinery in the late 1970s.
The schoolchildren repainted it in a kaleidoscope of colours and spent many hours climbing and playing on it.
The vehicle will be moved to Renato and Ines' daughter's farm between Bilbul and Yenda, where it will be used as a garden ornament.
The school's bell, another relic donated by a local family, has also been saved and is expected to be given to Pioneer Park.
To the alarm of donor Tom Marriott, it had disappeared from the site soon after the school shut down at the end of last year.
It had been put into safekeeping by the local branch of the education department.
"I'd be very happy to see the bell go to Pioneer Park, especially if they could put some sort of plaque on it explaining its history," Mr Marriott said.
"We found it at my Dad's old school when I was about eight years old and we had it moved to Bilbul.
"My concern was that someone had pinched it when the school closed but I'm glad to hear it will be preserved."