120yo sheller in great condition
A DURABLE timber worth considering for household projects would have to be white beech.
More than 120 years after John Walker and Company put its stamp on a corn sheller it built from white beech at its Maryborough foundry, the antique machine has been returned to the city in excellent condition.
Peter Olds from Olds Engineering said the city’s former show society president and retired veterinary surgeon, Bruce Paine, had recently delivered the sheller to the North Street foundry for safe keeping.
“Knowing my interest in Walkers, Bruce brought it back here,” said Mr Olds, who master-minded Mary Ann, the replica of the first steam locomotive built in Qld, which is one of Maryborough’s premier tourist attractions.
“Mary Ann was built by John Walker and Company in 1873 and the company changed its name to Walkers Ltd in 1888. The old machine has the original stencil branding on both sides, called the Union Corn Sheller and made by John Walker and Company, Maryborough, so it had to have been built before 1888.
“The wooden frame is still in very good condition. How did people in the early days know what local timbers would be that durable?
“Being from England, that’s a timber they wouldn’t have known of.”
Mr Olds said the corn sheller had been found on Mr Paine’s property at Yengarie when the well-known former resident bought the land about 40 years ago.
The sheller, made of cast iron and white beech timber with two fly-wheels and a crank, was designed to strip corn cobs of their grains.
“Bruce always had the ambition to restore it.”
Mr Paine, 82, moved to the Tweed Heads area several years ago.
“It’s also amazing that Walkers, who built massive machinery such as locomotives, ships and sugar milling equipment, also made small implements for every day use in the community,” Mr Olds said.
The historic corn sheller will be preserved and kept in the Maryborough area.
Walkers Ltd is known today as Downer EDi Rail.