Albury water wheel ‘a wreck’

IT would cost at least $90,000 to repair Albury’s Australia Park water wheel, a cost that cannot be justified according to Albury mayor Kevin Mack.

He said the wheel was reaching a point of degradation and it was not in the best interest of the community to leave it there.

Cr Mack said they could not spend the money as it would take away from other city projects.

“You have to look at priorities,” he said.

“If we spend $90,000 on fixing it up then someone might miss out on something they need.”

The estimated cost, based on quotes from engineering and metal fabrication specialists, was outlined in a report to council.

It is based on the water wheel’s structure being reconstructed rather than repaired and being brought up to working order.

Cr Mack said the council would offer the wheel back to the donor or their family and if they did not accept it, they would consider gifting it to a community group who wanted a project.

A member of the family who donated the wheel, Alan Beer, said he would not be interested in receiving it back.

“We are not Indian givers, we gave it away for them,” he said.

Albury and District Historical Society president Doug Hunter is resigned to the water wheel being removed.

“Objects of this type, made of light metal, with all the maintenance in the world still have a finite life, so regrettably we believe that the council report is a very fair one and describes accurately the position with the wheel,” Mr Hunter said.

“We think it’s unfortunate the wheel will go but we agree with the council’s assessment and it’s very objective, so we don’t have a critical position.”

Mr Beer said the wheel used to be on a mine that belonged to the family of Wodonga mechanic Vin O’Neill.

“It was then shifted to Tallandoon where it drove a battery for gold crushing,” he said.

“From there is was set up on a farm which my brother, father and I ended up buying.”

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