Years after being taken from Albury, old water wheel no closer to being restored to former glory

Spun out: The 19th century water wheel used on gold fields now sits in a Tallandoon paddock after being displayed in Albury from 1969 to 2014.  Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Spun out: The 19th century water wheel used on gold fields now sits in a Tallandoon paddock after being displayed in Albury from 1969 to 2014. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

A WATER wheel that for decades greeted those entering Albury is now lying in pieces in a paddock.

More than 3½ years after being craned out of Australia Park near Wodonga Place the relic of gold mining days is sitting flat close to the Omeo Highway at Tallandoon.

The water wheel was hauled from an Albury Council storage yard in 2015 to the property of Marcus Ellis.

He remains hopeful it can be erected at Eskdale’s visitor information bay.

“It is at a stalemate at the moment, but I think with a little bit of help from Towong Shire and with a grant and with some money from the (Mitta Valley) historical society we’ll get it up,” Mr Ellis said.

“It won’t be a working exhibition, it’s too fragile for that, but my son-in-law is going to put in some buckets to straighten it up.

The way it was: The water wheel sits in Australia Park where it was a landmark for motorists entering Albury from Wodonga.

The way it was: The water wheel sits in Australia Park where it was a landmark for motorists entering Albury from Wodonga.

“It’s got a fantastic history, it’s the biggest steel water wheel in Australia.”

Albury Council removed the wheel after a report noted its poor condition and its lead and asbestos-based paint coating.

It was estimated it would cost $90,000 to restore and reinstall the wheel in Albury.

Pulled out: A crane takes the water wheel from its position in Australia Park in February 2014.

Pulled out: A crane takes the water wheel from its position in Australia Park in February 2014.

The device was donated to the Albury and District Historical Society by Tallandoon farmer David Beer. 

Towong Shire chief executive Juliana Phelps said a council manager had met an historical society representative in May.

“We’re keen to see their proposal, so we can understand exactly how it’s all going to fit together – with the restoration, the funding and the site,” Ms Phelps said.

She said the council could not commit to the project without more information, particularly in light of the costs for lead paint removal.

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