Reunion will celebratearrival of Chintock Battery

AN UNUSUAL reunion will take place this Saturday at Flowery Gully, in the state's North not far from Beaconsfield's Grubb Shaft Museum where the Chintock Battery was relocated in 1993.

The reunion will be led by Dick Hooper who was Beaconsfield Council warden at the time of the salvage, removal and rebuilding of the historic, battery - a move that created a great deal of good and bad publicity for the Northern rural council.

A number of the party who made the five-day reconnaissance mission to the Blue Tier near Weldborough, in the North-East 20 years ago will be at the reunion.

They will remember not only the delicate retrieval of what was left of the battery, or ore crusher, from its resting place in blackwood and myrtle bush but the development of the Grubb Shaft Museum where it became a centrepiece.

The battery provided the means of cracking the ore to extract the gold sought by the miners.

Two decades on there is no quick way to the Chintock Battery in the depths of the remodelled museum if Mr Hooper is the guide.

``It brings a memory or two,'' he admits as he passes the Diprose collection of farm vehicles and equipment, the old lime bag found in the bush or ``the first and only compressor from the cool store at Beauty Point'', on the way.

``The museum was built on voluntary labour at a time when small town museums were popular.

``We had working bees here every Saturday morning for years and there would be 30 here for the working bee.''

The Beaconsfield goldmine was not operational at the time that the battery was carted in from the Blue Tier.

The mine owners gave the community committee use of the yard next door and tools to move the pieces of the battery into place.

It was reconstructed over the ash pit of the 1905 Tasmania goldmine boiler house.

Engineer John Cannell designed a new water wheel to fit the original steel shaft.

It was made from green, celery top pine to stop the expansion and contraction of the timber.

 The ore crushing equipment was known as the Chintock Battery after the North-East mining family of Chinese ancestry on whose land it was erected.

Mr Hooper said that it was believed the battery was relocated from Cream Creek by the Chintocks as part of the family's tin mine in the bed of the Kent Creek on the north-west slope of Mount O'Reilly, part of the Blue Tier.

The battery was rediscovered by the Beaconsfield crew on the advice of a group of North-East people who had suggested it should be preserved at the Grubb Shaft museum and helped the crew find the remote site.

It was found mounted on a deck of sawn myrtle beams set above the bed of the creek.

``The water wheel steel components set on a decayed wooden base were in danger of imminent collapse - the wooden parts, other than a few wheel spokes had disintegrated,'' Mr Hooper said.

``It was a very exciting project 20 years ago.

``It is now seen by hundreds and thousands of people (who visit the museum) whereas if we'd left it in the bush, it would have disintegrated.''

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