Enjoy a winter's day out in the country and let the machines do the wheezing. The Open Day at South West Rail and Heritage Centre (SWRHC) on Sunday, June 24, 2018, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, will feature 'Wheezing Workhorses', that were used back in the day, making life a little easier for our forebears.
The Boyanup Foundation collection consists of vintage machines that were crucial in the agricultural industry that developed in the Boyanup/Capel area. It includes such items as stationary engines, hay balers, fruit graders, chaff cutters, saws as well as the tractors that often pulled these 'workhorses'. This open day highlights the many and varied vintage machinery exhibits in the SWRHC collection as well as hosting members of the Old Machinery Club with their fantastic variety of machinery.
Widowmaker: This saw gained its 'widowmaker' nickname due to its ability to send the operator flying over the machine if the blade got too far over the log it was cutting and was also known to sometimes 'throw' lumps of wood at the operator who stood behind the engine when operating it.
In today's world, it is easy to find a machine to assist in the most mundane of tasks, and difficult to imagine a time when machines were not so user-friendly or widespread but nonetheless supported our pioneers in their daily lives. You are invited to discover some of the 'Wheezing Workhorses' that probably saved more than a few back and muscle aches in days gone by.
Tangye Engine: This machine was used at the historic BBidecud Winery in Boyanup. The Tangye pumped water from the Preston Rover to irrigate the vineyard.
Along with special guests, the Old Machinery Club, and the resident Preston River Old Machinery Group will 'rev' up some of these mechanical sloggers. Many of these machines are fired up and chug away throughout the day with the occasional explosion of noise, so be prepared. Experience these mechanical wonders in action and you will appreciate the creativity and foresight that lead to their construction. I love the smell, noise and general disposition of the old machinery. Somehow, they seem to generate a 'life' of their own, unlike the slick machines of today.
Magpie Baler: The Mitchell Hay Baler was more commonly known as the 'Magpie' Hay Baler, due to its 'pecking' motion.
The other SWRHC's resident groups, the Boyanup Foundation Blacksmiths, the Capel Men's Shed and the South West Model Railway Group will all be in operation, in addition to their intrepid railway carriage restorers bringing a 100-year-old carriage back to its former beauty.
The children will love a ride on the 'parent-powered' merry-go-round, made from recycled materials (no too much wheezing here). Though, I expect the environment, machinery, train, noise, workshops, sheds and general activity will have them exploring and completely enthralled.
Enjoy a break
Light refreshments will be available from the 'Picnic Van', a converted guard's van. Warming toasties, sandwiches, cakes, ice creams, cold drinks, tea and coffee will be on show, plus the ever-popular sausages will be a-sizzling.
Parking and toilets available
Toilet facilities are available, including a toilet suitable for people with a disability. There is plenty of parking, just follow the signs to find your convenient parking spot.
How to get there
The South West Rail and Heritage Centre situated in Turner Street, Boyanup, an accessible day trip from Perth, and well worth the experience, is open from 10:00am to 2:00pm. For more information, please contact Norm Chapple at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0459 712 552. You may also find this website and their Facebook page helpful, and entry is by donation.
All photos are from the SWRHC collection unless otherwise noted. Artwork by John F.