a tall, elegant, rusty icon of Australian rural history (pt 1)

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One of my projects of 2018 resulted in this tall elegant lady taking pride of place here at home. This is the first shot of the rusty lady – viewed from up near the house – taken on the morning of 31 March 2018 just after she was moved & installed at her final resting spot.

A quintessential piece of Australian farming & bush history is this tall elegant beauty, our vintage windmill, an original Australian made Bryan Bros ‘Cyclone Windmill‘ now about 90-95 years old, a figure confirmed by my research & the boss of AngCon who, with his assistant, moved & installed the ol’ gal. These magnificent foundry-made cast iron pieces once dotted the Australian landscape as important parts of farming communities. Back in the early days before electricity was easily available to operate pumps, before large dams could be constructed, the windmill was a pretty common site on rural properties and farms. The wind driven pump pulling water up from the bores and wells was a necessity. Windmills are the true downhome Australian icon, as Aussie as meat pies, kangaroos, footy & pavlova. Who can forget the familiar sound of the squeaking, creaking windmill out the other side of the house or out near the bore, the well, as it pumped water? How could I not have one in plain view from the front veranda?

Here’s a little history starter for Bryan Bros windmills.

Scroll down for the rest of the story in moving this lady to her new spot here at Fat Lawyer Farm.

Bryan Bros windmills Colac and Footscray

 

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Bryan Bros started their windmill making factory on 1 Jan 1888 at Colac, Victoria. They opened the West Footscray factory in 1925 & operated there until the Depression of 1932-33.

Bryan Windmills

Colac Historical Society

Bryan Bros via Rustys

 

Ok, moving on with my story. Prior to the move, I organised some local guys to construct the concrete footings (or stand) proportional to her length/height.  We spent some time out there measuring, in getting the windmill’s feet dimensions right. When that was done, the spot was surveyed, levelled & framed for the four large holes that were dug & boxed out. You can see in the image below where the concrete was to be poured forming the four blocks or pads to which the windmill stand would be bolted. Ultimately, I coated the footings in a rust brown fence paint … couldn’t live with the new look ‘white’ concrete.

 

 

 

Up to that day the rusty old gal had been laying on her side, out in the paddock for some years, trapped in long & overgrown grass & weeds longing to be picked up & re-homed, to show off her once tall stature. I always felt sad when I went out there, walking past her as she lay abandoned, trapped, hardly visible in the weeds.  My salvage yard friend in Mildura, Victoria, spent some years looking for this windmill. It took him time to find a lady in suitable condition & tall enough for the spot I had in mind.

The short clips below show segments of her short journey from where she had been lying. She was picked up & moved to the new spot where she was hoisted vertically, positioned & bolted to the footings.  If windmills could smile, she was smiling ‘bigly’ that day as was I.

If you scroll down to the short video clips you can see the event in full.  You can see one of the guys at the top there, just after the windmill had been bolted to the footings, checking out the security & safety of the mechanism. Setting the mill up that day was a temporary fix as I wanted it, the cogs & gears thoroughly inspected & serviced to ascertain their condition, safety & smooth operation in the wind. The mill had to turn according to the wind direction & speed as though pumping water. While the ol’ girl is merely ornamental for me, not a working windmill pumping water, the mill rotating in the wind as normal was critical. And it had to be safe. I also had the guys bring down the tail so I could add the property’s name – Fat Lawyer Farm.

                                      😄 😉

Check out the images below and Part 2 for the final result as well as more historic information on Bryan Bros. windmills,

 

 

First pick up.

 

 

 

The journey begins.

 

 

 

We had to get her around a fairly sharp corner.

 

 

The new unpainted footings ready to receive the windmill’s frame & feet to be bolted accordingly.

 

 

 

 

Moving her for final positioning on to the concrete footings.

 

 

Positioning.

 

 

Positioning, bolting.

 

 

Bolting her to the footings.

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2 coming soon . . .

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