Machines in Action training

by Michelle Ladgrove
Publish date
6 October 2011
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!


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

Machines in Action Day

Comments (1)

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Kevin 25 May, 2012 11:47
Last image is on the footplate of the Cowley traction engine.
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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.