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Some links to old
pumping windmill sites.


The solar pump compared to
windmill debate. There is an
interesting article about this subject
here http://www.cometwindmills.
com.au/ solar_v_wind.html.

Personally I find windmills much
more interesting to look at, and they
will last longer than a solar pump.

We tend to forget about old
technology because we are told the
new way is more convenient.
But is it.
My neighbors depend on their
electric pressure pumps to provide
their water, but they pay for this
with every power bill, and have no
water when there is a power outage.
I have water pressure provided by
the wind and gravity, no extra
charges on my power bill and I'm
not affected by power outages.
Which system is better?


You can buy working scale model
windmills in Australia from
John White. Link.

Southern Cross Windmills.  

I've always liked the old farm windmills, there was just something about them that catches my attention, both from a mechanical and photographic point of view. I've always had a interest in old machinery, a respect for something that was built long before I was born. Add to that a interest in photography and the old windmills just fall into place as a personal favorite subject.

If you go for a drive out in the country side you can see the old windmills everywhere, most in a very sad looking state, but some still working. Occasionally you come across a real gem, like the two windmills below. These have been restored by enthusiasts, and I take my hat off to them. I photographed these about 4 years ago on a drive from Mackay to Toowoomba via the inland route, a 1,000 km all day trip. Remember you can click on the images to see full size.

An interesting design, used a guyed tower and the whole tower turned to face the wind.
This old Comet was a monster, 8 meters diameter turbine.
This one below now lives at Queens Park, Toowoomba. Its a down wind type, the turbine is facing away from the wind.

I n late 2006 I bought my very own windmill, a old "Z" series Southern Cross, 6 foot turbine on a 25 foot tower. The Z models had a piece of corrugated iron for the tail and were made between 1930 and 1953. It was only a baby as far as Southern Cross windmills go, but it will do me just fine.

Getting ready to raise the tower. The windmill head is still off, we needed to raise the tower a few feet first so we could slip on the head, it was a 2 man lift, bit of weight in the old girl. 
This is how I rigged up a gin pole to raise the tower. These towers are designed to be lifted with a crane, not a gin pole, so I paid extra attention to strength around the pivot points.
Almost there, I was a little nervous, past the point of no return. My mate Justin was giving me a hand and I was glad he was around.
All done. Fitting the tail was scary, involves holding onto the windmill with one hand and leaning out to hook on the tail with the other hand. 25 foot seams like a long way up when you on a little platform that wobbles. Next time I'll do that when the windmill is at ground height I think.
This is the pump mechanism. The pump at the bottom has a 2.25in bore. The water comes out in the middle section, through a one way valve. The top half is the packing tube or gland, sort of like a seal to keep the water in Apart from the new poly pipe fittings, its all made from brass and leather.
The windmill is furled manually. There is a lever at chest height that pulls a cable. This lifts the furling plate that causes the tail to change angle.

Above is how I rigged it all up. A 5,000 liter rain water tank collects rain water from the workshop shed roof. At the bottom of the tank is a outlet that is fed to the windmill pump inlet. The pump outlet goes up the hill to the header tank, a 1,000 liter tank about 10 meters up the hill behind my house. The header tank has a over flow that is piped back down the hill to the rain water tank. So once the header tank is full the excess is fed back to the main tank. At the bottom of the header tank is the outlet ( not shown ) that feeds water to the house. The height of the header tank gives plenty of water pressure to the house. It all works a treat, no electric pumps or float valves. And with a little maintenance it will still be working in 50 years.


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