Festival of Steam.

More than often our stories talk about the new and hip things that are happening within the Sunshine Coast environs. This one however is a blatant plug for a truly historic event, The Gympie Gold Mining & Historical Museum’s Festival of Steam.

I have travelled on a steam-powered train and for me it did have a totally different feel to the ones we use today. There was a certain pulse to the way the train moved. For me it felt more alive. So if you have an inkling to understand a little more about such things and a lot more about our history, here’s your opportunity.

The Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum is situated at the southern gateway to the city heart of Gympie within the lake Alford parklands and features a unique 1899 year old Walkers Cornish Boiler, believed to be the only such boiler operating in Australia. The steam produced will power the 1906 year old Walker Winding Engine, the 1907 year old Thompson Air compressor and a Hindley powered 110V Dc generator, all on the original footings of the No 2 South Great Eastern Mine which was the second richest mine in the field between 1887 and 1017. The installation also features steam pumps by Weir, Schwage and Evans.

Machinery operating: The remains of the original stamper battery powered by the Davey Paxman boiler, which will power a twin cylinder marine engine to drive the remnants of its original 80 head stamper battery for the first time in over 60 years. It will also power a vertical Howden engine driving gold recovery tables. Other exhibits by members and visitors will also be featured. A Brown Boveri steam engine and Australian made horizontal engine both powered by Galion Vertical Boiler, Model steam engines powered by Carmichael boiler, and Hot Air engines. An invitation was extended to all collectors and operators of steam equipment who would like to participate.

Enthusiasts are invited to come to the Museum, and celebrate the commissioning of heritage steam mining equipment after the major restoration. Free Camping on site for exhibitors.

All Day Breakfasts, Devonshire Teas and Lunches including a Sausage Sizzle! are catered for by the friendly staff of the Cafe at the Museum, which overlooks the Duck Ponds.

Saturday 30th September

During the day, there will be a comprehensive range of activities and demonstrations.

  • 9.00 am: Model steam engines and toys powered by Carmicheal boiler.
  • 9.30am: Brown Boveri and Coulsell steam engine demonstrations and steam powered pump powered by Galion boiler .
  • 10 am: Hot Air Engine demonstrations, and miniature train operating along with gold panning demonstrations and tuition.
  • 10.30 am: Stamper Battery and other Gold recovery machines demonstrations powered by 2 cylinder marine engine and Howden engine using stream from a Davey Paxman portable boiler.
  • 11.15 am: Mobile steam demonstrations by 1915 Case traction engine and 1926 Aveling Porter steam roller.
  • 12.00 noon: 1899 Walker Winding engine, 1907 Thompson compressor engine, Hindley engine generator and assorted steam pump demonstrations powered by 1906 Walker Cornish Boiler.
  • 1.30 pm: Starting of Ruston engine and Blackstone engine.
  • 2.00 pm: Starting demonstrations and grand parade of museum and visiting vehicles of many types. Rides in some vehicles will be available to museum patrons.
  • 4.00 pm: Close.

Sunday 1st October

  • 8.30 am: Promotional demonstration at markets. Miniature train rides.
  • 1pm: Winding shed operating and demonstrations. Stamper battery and gold recovery equipment operating.
  • 3.30pm: Close.

Monday 2nd October

  • 9.00am – 3.30 pm: An unstructured program of activity including all equipment featured on Saturday and Sunday, according to operator availability.

Museum Entry Fees: Adults $10, Concession $7, Students $5, Family $25

For further details visit the Museum website.

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