Wednesday, 20 December 2017 08:26

Historical society keeps the wheel turning

Omeo Historical Society has made a major move in the long story of the Zulu Creek waterwheel. First bought to the Historic Park in Omeo in the 1970s by the then Shire of Omeo, the wheel was placed in Commissioners Gully alongside the courthouse. In the ʻ90s,w then society president, Brett Lee, initiated the project to move the wheel to a better site. These wheels are designed to be fed water by a pipe or flume coming in at breast height and being in the gully caused the wheel to be damaged in the occasional flash flood. The project stalled for a while but was picked up by Graeme Deveson in the early 2000s when he became president and with the strong support from the committee of management the project has progressed to this stage. Using their own funds along with an East Gippsland Shire community grant has seen a very substantial new base on which to place the wheel with further works to have the wheel turn and drive a five-head stamper battery for demonstration purposes. Historical society president, Graeme Deveson, said it was a very exciting day.

“The actual moving of the wheel to its new position gives everyone an opportunity to see how this project can develop,” he said. “Being on higher ground is not only a more correct example of how it would be placed in a real working situation, but also gives a better perspective of its size. We need to do a fair bit of work to get the wheel buckets repaired, but the water system will be hooked up as soon as possible. We are really looking forward to having it turn under its own power. “I like to call this the ʻPresidents Projectʼ because its taken place, and will continue to, over a long period and a series of presidents, but the committee of management have been very strong in supporting this project that has taken up much of our income in the past few years. “Special thanks to Mike Henry, our vice president, who has worked long and hard in preparing the wheel for this move, assisted by committee member Jim Pestos. Graham Symons, from Omeo Welding and Engineering, has given so much of his time, help and assistance to make this work, we are very grateful. “The new base structure will last a very long time while the wheel can be repaired and maintained indefinitely just as it would be in a working situation.” Walkways to admire the wheel will be in place soon, make sure you have a look next time you are in Omeo.