A vintage Austin parcels tractor photographed at Central Railway Station in Sydney, Australia during the early 20th century. (Image: Photographic Collection. Austin parcels tractor at Central Railway Station in Sydney)

We’re often of looking at the past through rose tinted spectacles, and remembering days gone by from an objective standpoint can at times be a challenge. But when confronted with vintage machines like this one, it’s hard not to wonder whether the best days of design are long behind us. Despite its application in the relatively prosaic task of carting packages and other light freight around the Central Railway Station in Sydney, Australia, this Austin parcels tractor has a rugged elegance that exudes the importance of both form and function in early 20th century industrial design.

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