Tumbarumba, News South Wales, Australia is one of those places we love to visit. We have visited the town and area around it a number of times since we moved into the region and it always seems to have something new to show us. More or less in the center of the township is the Goldfields Heritage park, which is on the site of the original goldfields. Thousands of miners toiled on the Tumbarumba goldfields between the 1850’s and 1930’s. They even managed to move the creek from the western side of what is now the Goldfields Heritage Park to the location it is today – no easy feat! I’m guessing that they moved the creek to get to the alluvial godl that they believed was in the creek bed. When we visited there recently, the trees were in the throes of succumbing to Autumn.
The explorers Hume and Hovell passed through the area in the mid 1820’s, and had with them a number of assigned convicts with them. These convicts has been transported to New South Wales from the mother country for various crimes including stealing various things. One of them was transported because of involvement in the Irish Insurrection and another for ‘highway treason’, whatever that is. It is interesting to note, though, that some of them became quite successful during their time in Australia. James Fitzpatrick became a successful landowner, and Henry Angel became a successful and respected grazier. It makes me think that their crimes were crimes of desperation. Obviously those that became successful were not afraid of hard work, and really made a go of it once they had served their sentence.
While we were there we noticed a pathway, and we decided to follow it. The pathway followed the creek for a short distance before opening out into another large parkland, one of the more interesting features of which was an old waterwheel. Old machinery fascinates me – it seems that the people that made those old machines had a much better hands-on knowledge of mechanics than the desk jockies who design our cars and other machines today. Often back in those ‘good ol days’ it was through a process of trial and error that a machine was made, and often due to lack of available spare parts the machines were often repaired in some very innovative and unusual ways. Today petroleum is the liquid that powers our machines, but back when these types of machines were being used water was the power – streams and rivers provided power for waterwheels such as this and various other machines, and water powered the steam engines so often used during the industrial revolution.
The original wheel was donated by a Mr Contessa of Adelong and was re-constructed by Blakes Engineering and inmates of the Brookfield Afforestation Camp. Adelong is not too far distant to Tumburumba.