The small township of Maldon has got more history than you could poke the proverbial stick at. Starting life as a bustling gold mining town and then declining into a sleepy backwater, ensured that the majority of the town stayed intact historically. So much so that in 1965 the National Trust of Australia classified it as Australia’s first ‘notable town’ for its historical significance.
Our tiny cottages, streetscapes, mining relics and gardens, with a great deal of the town having heritage overlays that even control the colour you paint your fence.
Our Machinery Museum
In the mid 1972 a small group, the Maldon Flywheelers – machinery ‘tragics’, had the wild dream of an agricultural machinery showpiece for the town. They began gathering any discarded and superseded equipment that would fit the bill: Items that would show the vast array of machinery needed to feed, water, warm and inform the growing communities of central Victoria. Now, thanks to their sheer doggedness a 45 year old dream has come to fruition in this form of the Vintage Machinery Museum.
After years of funding submissions and VCAT appeals the Museum was formally opened in 2006. Encompassing multiple partnerships with many community groups it’s as though the whole town is involved in some way.
This museum can only be described as a Machinery heaven with many of these treasures in working order. There is all manner of agricultural machinery, from crosscut saws and artefacts and all sorts of Engines, threshers, ploughs, harrows, sorters, tillers, Sheep Equipment and hay Equipment.
Then there’s Aunty Jack, a 9 horsepower Marshall engine, the world’s only working, Cornelius Pedis, a 1877 steam driven engine. There is the 100 year old steam driven electric generator, valued at more than $700.000 including a giant very rare marble switchboard and an equally rare upright Steam driven Pump all from Thompson’s foundry. We are currently restoring the generator to its original working condition. Then there is the Tarrangower Times (the local ‘rag’) printing press, the old town weighbridge and office and a gold crusher. Our Fire shed houses Maldon’s first fire engine and memorabilia.
- Large pieces of machinery of Thompsons early manufacture have been donated and are on display. Many Thompson Pumps, mining equipment, generators etc…..
- Growing numbers of the general public visiting the museum continue to marvel at the way in which past generations at Thompsons were able to design and manufacture machinery for the extraction of gold, power generation, water and sewage transfer, rail and Marine engines to name a few.
- The new ‘Thompsons Drawing Office’ project will provide a place where Draftspersons, students and interested personnel can visit for an insight as to how drawings were prepared prior to the computer CAD programing age.
- Equipment and items manufactured from drawings in the museum’s possession are still in use today. The museum is able to provide reference for restorers of these items and therefore assist with heritage matters across Australia.
- The local community has supported the Thompsons Drawing Office & Archival Collection through donations of ‘Gold Sponsorships’ totalling $25,000 towards alterations to the existing exhibit shed to accommodate a mezzanine floor in which to house and display the Drawing Office collection and an exhibition area
- The Maldon Vintage Machinery works with the Maldon Men’s Shed, Goldfields Railway, Maldon Easter Fair. Maldon Inc. Maldon Fire Brigade and Many other organisations within the community that promote History, Tourism and working together for the good of the community at large.
As a whole, the Thompsons Foundry Drawing Office and Archival collection is of State significance. The collection is historically significant as a body of evidence of a working foundry and engineering company.
The collection is also significant for its ability to demonstrate technical achievements in Australian and Victorian engineering; specifically, the company’s innovations in the area of centrifugal pumps. It also has outstanding provenance, including its current custody by knowledgeable people with a direct relationship with a number of its components.
Our collection has great research potential due to its association with places of national, state and local heritage significance around Australia, such as the Castlemaine Diggings Heritage National Park. The research potential of the collection is enhanced by the high level of intactness of the recordkeeping system and its various components, and the ability of the various archival components to inform each other.
Our Members are all very proud of what we have achieved in the few years of hard work and dedication. Entry to the museum is by donation.