Friends of the Dunedin Gasworks Museum

A world class industrial heritage site


A little bit of progress was made today in that we have finally, after installing a new pump, plus some new hose, and coping with an oil spill, managed to get all the donated oil into the holding tank, leaving us with goodly number of empty drums, and allowing a bit of a clean-up around the pumping area.(See picture 1).

Not such good news was that the newly installed (well within the last couple of years) ground-water pump near the two exhausters, failed. This was found, on dismantling, to be due to a fractured shaft, though the root cause of that is a bit uncertain. The pump has gone for repair or replacement, leaving a gap for the moment. (picture 2 ).


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All go in the Smithy

Ann has acquired a new ginormous anvil, to add to the collection. It was mounted on a metal stand, which lacked sufficient rigidity, so Tom was called in with his gas cutting equipment, and soon released the anvil from the stand.

It will be mounted, as anvils should be, on a solid wooden block, and will take pride of place next to the forge.



Tom adjusts his gas-cutter flame, temporarily outdoing the forge in the background.

Start of Restoration

Dunedin’s last surviving gaslight, acquired by the museum a while ago, is about to be resurrected. Hopefully it will be restored to function, either with an electric bulb, or preferably with a gas mantle. While the lamp post itself is very sound, the top piece is in a rather sorry state. It turns out that it is made entirely of copper, but has been crudely painted, probably several times, in the past. Work has begun to get it back to its original appearance. One of the glass windows was already cracked, and another was damaged getting it out (150year-old putty!), but the remaining glass was removed intact. It is now a matter of cleaning off the old paint, re-doing some of the soldered joints, then re-glazing. Where the light will ultimately stand is up for suggestions – inside or out?

Pictures show the top piece before and after getting the glass out.




Student visit

Last Thursday (23rd) the Gas Works Museum was invaded by a group of University of Otago media studies students intent on making a promotional video of the museum. So Neil, Keith and I became filmstars for a day. It was a lesson in patience as various shots were rehearsed, shot and shot again. Naturally we had all engines operating, sometimes being started and stopped for the cameras, and the whistle got a few blows as well.

We look forward to seeing the end result, and I would hope that it might result in a DVD for sale to the public.



The big clean-up.

This is a site not often seen: the big boiler with a fire in it. This seemed a good way to get rid of the oil-soaked wood-shavings from our oil spill.

The fire was quite impressive, without too much smoke, and we burnt about half today, with more to follow next Tuesday. Thanks to Jock and Bob B for assistance.

Despite today being Easter Sunday, there was a good number of visitors, and the forge was also going strong.



The Gang’s all Here!

Well a good turn out anyway. Tom cut a piece out of the old boiler that’s been sitting around at the back, and then at around 10am Mark Hely of Mono pumps arrived with the pieces to make us a new oil pump. He was soon followed by Craig from Fairfield Transport with his enormous truck. He very skillfully loaded the now-unwanted Speight’s boiler, with its various appendages,  the old boiler, and a few other bits of unwanted scrap for transport to Everitt Enterprises.  Hopefully the cash from all this metal will benefit the rather lean coffers. IMG_2225 IMG_2224  IMG_2233

Oily one morning, just as the sun was rising…

Not a pretty sight greeted us this morning: the oil separation tank had siphoned out a large quantity of dirty oil. It is uncertain whether this was vandalism, or the taps had somehow been wrongly set. However it did give us cause to think that it would be safer to have the gate from the Supermarket car-park locked at nights. As an additional safeguard, we have removed the tap-handle from the tank to a safe place. Work continues on the replacement pump.

When the Speight’s boiler is gone (s00n) there will be a chance to have a good cleanup.




Steam Punch review

For those that missed seeing Steam Punch, there is, thanks to Ann, a review here:


Jarrod of Naylor Love, was hard at work today, in rather miserable conditions, and coping with groundwater, preparing a base for the last of the gas-holder columns to be placed in position. So at long last the ‘monument’ will be complete and symmetrical . It is hoped to pour concrete this coming Friday. I will keep a watch on progress.



Light at the end of the pipe?

We had a visit today from Mark Hely of Mono Pumps Dunedin Ltd.

He has indicated that the mono pump we had previously replaced with a new one (under the window near the beam engine) is quite serviceable with a few new components, and will then  solve our pumping difficulties. This will be much cheaper than a new pump.