Our Trip To Western Australia travel blog

Our guide Roy stands in front of the boilers

No.8 pump house

the water end of one pump

the steam end.....

Departed Kalgoorlie at a sensible hour this morning heading for Merredin.

Stopped for an hour at Pump Station No.8. We had an appointment to see the setup here and so after finding it duly arrived, pressed the button and “Roy” our guide and raconteur/interlocutor came walking along from his lodgings with his Labrador.

He unlocked and gave us the tour.

No 8 Pump Station is the most easterly of the original eight steam powered pump stations, the last in the line pumping water from Mundaring Weir to Kalgoorlie. Today a No 8 remains almost exactly as it was on that day in 1970 when, after nearly 70 years of continuous service, it finally closed. Inside the main building, the pumps, boilers, economiser and a host of tools and equipment still remain. Outside, the steel chimney, coal bin, store, blacksmith’s shop, suction tank, weighbridge, engineer’s office and venturi meter house all still stand.

The two pumping sets to be found inside No 8 Pump Station are identical to those originally installed in all eight pump stations. Nos 1–4 each had three sets, while Nos 5–8 had two. The 20 pumping sets were all supplied by the British firm James Simpson & Co. The boilers were standard Babcock & Wilcox water tube boilers with superheater. The pumps were specially designed horizontal, six cylinder, high duty, triple expansion surface condensing Worthington duplex direct acting engines. The pumping sets were delivered in parts, a total of 3,500 tonnes shipped in 5,000 separate, colour-coded packages. When they arrived there was only one part reported missing — a half inch hydraulic power valve.

I was dumbstruck by the size of the Worthington pumps. To give an idea normally they are about a metre long or smaller but these were capable of pumping 400ltrs per stroke, 45 strokes a minute so would pump around 1,000,000ltrs in an hour. Probably around 10 metres long the 2 pumps were most impressive.

Carol was less than enthused but made a suitable inscription in the visitor’s book and Gracie had a barking good time playing with Roy’s dog, DOG; though not a bark from either of them was heard….

Then headed east towards Merredin, past signs advertising cheapest beer on the Goldfields “only $40 a carton”

Nice Van park too and only $30, in the morning we will venture into town and have a look around…

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