Mundaring Community Men's Shed Midland visit

by Martin Beal.

Tuesday 8th May saw nine blokes from MCMS visit the Machinery Preservation Club at Midland Workshops. We were welcomed by Ralph and Peter, given a morning coffee and shown around the collection. And what a collection!

Click for larger image The display area was at least 60 metres long and the full width of the workshop bay. The blokes in the club had arranged their machinery into subject areas, mining, agricultural, steam and so on. In the mining area there was a stamping mill made by Frazer & Chalmers of Erith, UK. What a coincidence, that was where I served my apprenticeship! The area also included some mining industry tools, a model of a mineshaft head gear and info about good old C. Y. O'Connor.

The next area was a massive collection of stationary engines of all sorts including a Douglas horizontally opposed petrol engine probably used to generate electricity in a Lancaster bomber. Another interesting item was a Wankel engine used to power an outboard motor.

Further along the building was a magnificent Clayton and Shuttleworth steam traction engine. Members had had the engine running recently but found a problem with the valve gear which they were currently fixing.

I was interested to hear that the original boiler had been a write-off and a new one had been designed and built by the members. All the more impressive as the boiler was also a load-bearing part of the machine. It supported the steering gear at the front and the drive train and driving wheels at the rear.

Heading back along the other side of the bay we saw an eight ton stand-by Ruston generator that had been salvaged from the old Perth telephone exchange. Alongside was a great collection of machine shop lathes, milling machines and so on. Colin was in his element.

The collection was enormous and I have only mentioned a few of the exhibits here. As Ralph indicated, there is a wealth of history saved in the collection and at the moment a wealth of experienced men to tend it. Will there be a next generation to continue the task of refurbishing and maintain these wonderful machines into the future? I wonder.

© Machinery Preservation Club Of W.A. (Inc) 2011
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