Wendie McCaffley
Guido Gouverneur
Eveleigh Workshops
 
     
 

The Eveleigh Locomotive Workshop was the largest and most technologically advanced workshop in the southern hemisphere. Opened in 1887 by the New South Wales government for the maintenance and manufacture of steam locomotives, it continued to operate on steam until its closure in 1988. The two blacksmithing bays inhabited by Wrought Artworks are the only intact operating bays remaining. The rest of the site has been reborn as the Australian Technology Park, with static displays of samples of the complex equipment from the machine shop exhibited throughout.

Wrought Artworks still utilizes a large portion of the collection of blacksmithing equipment at Eveleigh. To quote the Smithsonian Institute, Washing ton DC; it is "the largest and most intergral collection of Victorian blacksmithing equipment, in terms of integrity and extent known in the western world."

Power to the blacksmithing bays was provided by steam from four 36 class boilers. The pump room provided water at 800lbs/sq for the presses and spring-making equipment and the hydraulic elevator - that hoisted  materials to the charge deck of the cupolas in the foundry. Two four column presses were operated in Bay 1 South for flanging boiler doors or forming saddle clamps and buckels for clamping leaf springs together. Buckels were made in the thousands. The smaller of the two presses is marked on one side of the top platen with Tangey Makers, whilst the front is marked Woodburytype Press: it appears it is the only press of its kind to survive in the world and was originally made for the NSW Government Printing Office. Its recent discovery sparked great interest for researches in the field of early photographic printing. Its resting ground in a dirty blacksmithing shop is open to speculation.

In Bay 1 North lies the 1500 tonne steam intensified hydraulic forging press by Davy. its furnace and tackle are the only occupants. The Davy was installed by the Navy in 1929 who allowed the then Department of Transport to operate the press as part of the Australian Self Sufficiency Drive, (after the U-Boat scare of WWI). It was capable of working ingots 3 feet thick.  The Davy Press is considered the jewel of the crown of Australian industrial archaeology; it was the largest forging press of it's day in the southern hemisphere. The Davy operated with a seven- man crew. Some of the porter bars for manipulating the steel weigh close to two tonnes, testament to the toil of 19th century industrialism.

The 40cwt double arch hammer is two tonnes of moving parts, situated in Bay 1 south, the only bay to retain it's original dirt floor. The hammer is believed to come from the first Government railway workshop and is dated to around 1865, making it one of the oldest steam hammers in the world. The steam hammer was invented by Sir James Nasmyth, who also invented the vertically acting steam engine as seen on the Roots blowers, which provided high volume, low pressure air to the furnaces and forges throughout the workshop via an underground network of cast iron pipes.

In Bay 2 south automation and mass production ruled the day. This was the realm of the third class machinist, not tradesmen but experienced laborers who had worked their way up to operating a machine on their own. Two upset forging machines on the western side remain complete with dies for boiler rivets, cotter pins, crown stays for boilers, and all manner of bolts and shackels. Other associated equipment here are frazing machines, ( a combination of a rotary rasp to trim flash from forgings and a hot saw to split bars prior to forging clevises), and jib cranes to change dies.

On the eastern side of the bay is a row of forges each with an Oliver Hammer - a steam powered striker - set up for tool smithing or the manufacture of brake keys. These Oliver Smiths spent most of their life forging crowbars and chisels for other workers in the Railway.

Eveleigh Workshops - Wrought Artworks - Iron work Australia
 
   
  Wrought Artworks - Australian Technology Park - Locomotive workshop, (Bays 1 & 2) - Garden St, Alexandria NSW 1435 - Tel 02 931 96190 - Iron work Australia - Site Map - Links
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