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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: machines in action day (2)

First Machines in Action Day for 2015

Author
by Matilda Vaughan
Publish date
10 April 2015
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Comments (0)

Matilda swapped a life working as an engineer for a life curating the museum’s historical Engineering collection. She’s very curious about how stuff works, how it’s made and why. If a machine’s got a switch, she’ll definitely flick it.

This is not the most awkward photograph I’ve ever taken, but definitely uncomfortable. I am lying under our Cowley Steam Roller, having just put back the fire grate bars, one by one. A great workout for the upper arms and the muscles around the belly.

Beneath the Cowley roller. Beneath the Cowley roller.
Image: Matilda Vaughan
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Every two years some of us are lucky enough to get this view.  Our restored and working steam vehicles, the Cowley Traction Engine, the Cowley Road Roller and the Sentinel Steam Wagon, were due for their biennial boiler inspections. So back in February, the crew removed all the boiler fixtures and cleaned the firebox and fire tubes, ready for inspection. The cleaning is a dirty job but it is a great way to get a closer look at how they are made.

All three boilers passed their inspection and last month we put them back together again, steamed them up and checked that there were no leaks. All clear and ready to roll this Sunday at our first Machines in Action Family Day for the year.

Cowley traction engine and the Sentinel steam wagon The Cowley traction engine and the Sentinel steam wagon, ready for action on the Scienceworks arena.
Image: Matilda Vaughan
Source: Museum Victoria

Machines in Action training

Author
by Michelle Ladgrove
Publish date
6 October 2011
Comments
Comments (1)

Michelle is the Facilities Coordinator at Scienceworks, and as such has had to quickly learn the ins and outs of the building in her 10 months with the museum – every day brings new discoveries.

I've been at Scienceworks for only a short time in the big scheme of things, and was really proud to finally be able to take part in the training session for Machines in Action Day held here on the arena in September. The folks out here at Scienceworks kept referring to this 'MAD' day, and I couldn't help but wonder what it actually was - some very strange imagery certainly entered my mind I can tell you!

Upon seeing the giant old steam trucks brought out from their garage, it suddenly took me back to my childhood days (both in sights and smells) of visiting Puffing Billy. We had several enthusiastic volunteers shovelling coal, and driving these magnificent old engines around the arena. How easy we all have it now in our quiet cars that require only a keystart!

I jumped on board for a ride on the Super Sentinel Steam Wagon with Tom. Tom's a fitter and turner by trade, but he just loves being a part of the crew that get the old machines running. He told me how he had several at home he liked to tinker with, and it was really heartwarming to find out that the volunteers offer so much of their time to Scienceworks and to our lucky patrons, their only payment being opportunity to be a part of the fun.

Two men standing inside shed Tom and another volunteer outside the garage at Scienceworks.
Image: Michelle Ladgrove
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Des Lang, our supervisor for the Scienceworks Engineering workshop, jumped aboard and decided we'd take the Wagon out on the road to Willi (Williamstown for those who may not know)! Apparently they've taken her all the way to Mitcham before too, at a reasonable pace of 30-40kph mind you - not bad!

  Driving the Super Sentinel Steam Wagon. Inside the Sentinel, with Des and Tom.
Image: Michelle Ladgrove
Source: Museum Victoria
 

View from the driver's seat of the Super Sentinel Steam Wagon View from the driver's seat of the Super Sentinel Steam Wagon.
Image: Michelle Ladgrove
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The MAD Training session came to a close, and after a few rounds of the arena where I got to wave to the crowds and pull down on the steam whistle, we carefully backed the lovely old Sentinel back into the garage. I can honestly say that I am SO looking forward to the next Machines in Action Day on Sunday 9th October and will be bringing my family in to experience it too.

Thanks to the wonderful volunteers we have here at Scienceworks, and to Paula Collins who coordinates such an enormous group to which we owe so much. Hope to see you all there!

Links:

Access All Areas podcast Episode 20 - Roll out the steam engines

Machines in Action Day

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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