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George Sewell 4wDM ex Waranga Basin Reservoir

Historical Photo
Recent Photo

Status: Operational

This small diesel locomotive numbered 18-C-25 was used on the maintenance tramway at Waranga Basin Reservoir between 1959 and 1994.  The reservoir was built between 1902 and 1908 as part of an irrigation scheme for central and northern Victoria.  The State Rivers and Water Supply Commission of Victoria was constituted in May 1906 by the amalgamation of many of the small rural water supply and irrigation trusts in Victoria.  Presumably, the SR&WSC took over the construction work shortly after its formation.  The Waranga scheme was enlarged between 1915 and 1926.  It is highly likely that tramway systems had been used since the start of construction as it was the most efficient technology of its day.  The purpose of the tramway system was to haul beaching-stone from nearby quarries to prevent erosion of the wall by wave action.  Once the wall was completed, the tramway was used intermittently for maintenance purposes, especially during 1935-36 when the wall was damaged by storms.  The tramway was re-laid in heavier rail in 1936-38.

Photographs suggest that the first motive power on the tramway was horses.  This locomotive was purchased to supersede horse-traction in 1959 and was constructed by George W. Sewell of Footscray, and consisted of a skip frame with a petrol engine driving the axles via roller chains.  The original engine was replaced by a Petter diesel in 1971-1972.  The tramway along the top of the wall was cut back during the latter years of operation, and was removed entirely during April/May 1995.  The "feeder" section from the western end of the wall to the quarry is still largely intact, and is to be preserved in-situ.  The locomotive is displayed with three of the wagons that it hauled in service.