A UNIQUE piece of irrigation history has been restored to working order in north Victoria.An enormous Hornsby Suction Gas Engine with a 10-tonne flywheel, cylinder gas producers and Robison 20-inch centrifugal pump is the latest addition to the items on display at the new Benjeroop Irrigation Museum, southeast of Swan Hill.
The museum was officially opened last week by Member for Swan Hill, Peter Walsh.
Centenary celebrations are planned for tomorrow, from 2pm, to mark 100 years since the British-made engine landed in Australia, and an exhibition of photos from the floods which devastated the area last year will be opened at the nearby Benjeroop Hall.
The pump's restoration and relocation has been a six-year community project, costing almost $390,000.
It was originally installed on the NSW side of the Murray River after it was bought in December 1912 by Cobramunga Station owner Captain FE Keats.
Disused after it broke down in 1951, it sat idle on the river bank until the owner, Grant McDonald, of Murrabit, offered it to Barham restorer and inventor Hume Colville.
Fellow irrigation enthusiast Lindsay Schultz helped raise money for the restoration, with the aim of exhibiting the restored irrigation system as a museum piece at the Benjeroop Hall.
''The pump is so big that when it was running, it could almost suck the river dry,'' he said.
It is thought be the only pump of its type in working order in the southern hemisphere, and the only one anywhere to run on gas produced from redgum coal.
Contributions came from the state government, Gannawarra Shire Council, the Benjeroop community and included volunteer labour.
For more details, read The Shed in tomorrow's edition of The Weekly Times.