Thursday, July 2, 2009

Public Lecture:The Extant Remains of Hydraulic Power in Sydney and Newcastle Hosted by the Engineering Heritage Committee

Member of Engineering Heritage Australia (Sydney Division)

The reticulation of a form of easily applied power for use by commerce and industry was really unknown in the mid-nineteenth century. By 1849 Sir Wm Armstrong proposed the use of hydraulic power at the Grimsby docks (UK), and by 1876 the first public system was inaugurated at Hull. At Newcastle (NSW) the Bullock Is. system commenced in 1877 to serve the cranes and windlasses on the wharves. The fifth public system in the world was operating in Sydney by 1891 serving the needs of lifts, cranes (whips), machinery and presses. By 1894 the Sydney system had 200 customers, and by 1922 some 80km of mains. The Sydney system was converted to electricity in 1952 and ceased operation in 1975. Many other independent systems were in use across the city as well. The re- development of the city in the period between 1975 and the present has seen much of the original hydraulic plant removed, or replaced with more modern equipment. In many cases buildings have been replaced totally with new structures for commerce and residential occupation thus removing any trace of the use of hydraulics. The author’s work on the conservation of the hydraulic whip in the Argyle Stores building led to a search for those remains of hydraulic powered equipment that had survived the city changes, or had been protected by heritage legislation in the intervening years. The lecture will cover the well known remains of some hydraulic power systems, and bring to light a number of examples that remain hidden in the depths of a few prominent places.
Thursday 9th July 2009
Time 5:30 pm Refreshments then 6:00 pm Presentation
Location Engineers Australia 122 Parry Street, Newcastle West
RSVP to Katrina Baker at the Newcastle Division Office on 02 4926 4440 or by Monday 6th July 2009

(PHOTO-Ann Hardy 'Newcastle Hydralic Pump Station' 2007.

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