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The Open Day was a big success! The engine performed flawlessly throughout the weekend, the weather was kind to us with plenty of sunshine and it was really pleasing to see all the excited and enthusiastic visitors who had come to see the engine.
This was especially the case with the people who were either old time residents of Glen Wills or who had friends or relatives who lived and worked at the mine or in the valley in the past. After seeing the slow deterioration of the engine over the years, it was a brave few who believed that the engine could be brought back to working condition.
Those who were observant may have noticed the glint of a tear in the corner of the eye of one or two of the hardened old timers as they watched the engine run. For some, the sights, noise and smells would have brought memories of a past era flooding back. Perhaps for a minute or two the years had been wound back for them and they were back with the friends, family and work colleagues of their youth, some of whom are no longer with us.
The event brought together people from near and far with stories of the valley, the mines and the machinery and we will be following up to gather as much of this information as possible so it can be documented and recorded for future generations.
By way of example, it was great to meet people like Phil King, who related the story of being a 14 year old standing outside his house on the opposite side of the road near the entrance to the paddock leading to the machinery sheds and seeing the low loader and accompanying tray truck bring the engine into the valley after the long slow journey from Zwar’s Tannery at Beechworth to it’s new working home near the Maude and Yellow Girl Mine.
For those of you who were not able to make it on 15 and 16 October to see the engine running, fear not, as there will be opportunities to see the engine running again in future. Keep a check on this website for details. Alternatively, if you would like to be added to our mailing list, contact Gordon by email at glenwills@skymesh,com.au or ring on 0351 597 254.
Where to from here?
Work is on-going to improve the presentation of the engine. Further work is also planned on the structure the machinery is housed in to enhance security and provide better protection from the weather to ensure none of our hard work to date is undone.
There are a series of additional projects that are on the list to tackle as well. These include:
- Restoring the Kelly and Lewis 2 stroke diesel engine which ran the Jacques of Richmond Melbourne rock crusher located at the State Battery site.
- Restoring to working condition the Ingersoll Rand 1000cfm compressor which was driven by the Ruston 12HC engine and which is still sitting next to the engine on it’s original plinth. We will connect the compressor by belt to the engine and it will become part of the working display on running days.
- Restoring the Pelton Wheel and direct drive compressor which was manufactured by Thompson Foundary of Castlemaine in Victoria which is also located in the machinery shed and worked alongside the Ruston engine.
Thank you once again to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make the Open Days a success. Whether you were slaving away for hours at the BBQ, directing traffic, or involved in preparing and running the engine itself, you all played an integral part in making the event a success!
Thank you to O’Connell’s Bus Services for the shuttle bus, to the Omeo Historic Society for the display in the hall, and to all our other sponsors who made it possible to get the Ruston running again.
Finally, thanks to Parks Victoria for their support and for showing confidence in the Friends of the Ruston12H group.
The Friends of the Ruston 12H
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