Bar Title

Winch Rigging

Status: Static display

Historic PhotoThe wire-rope work associated with the Steel Company winch site illustrates the method used to winch logs in from the bush.  The thicker of the two ropes is called the “main rope” and is used to haul the log in towards the winch site, and runs through a series of large pulleys known as “bull-wheels”.  The thinner of the two ropes or “straw-line” is used to haul the main rope back out into the bush, and runs though a series of smaller pulleys known as “gin-wheels”.  At the far end of the run, a gin-wheel attached to a suitable tree made the whole system a very functional “endless loop”.  Both ropes are wound on separate drums on the winch, which revolve in opposite directions.

At the point where the two ropes joined, a “dropper” was installed to attach the log to the haulage system.  As the log approached each bull-wheel, the winch would be stopped, the dropper shifted to the winch side of the bull-wheel, and the process repeated.  Using this arrangement, a winch could systematically log an area of forest around a radius of more than a kilometre from where the winch was sited.

Recent PhotoA number of people were required to carry out this work. Pairs of “Fallers” felled the tree, cut off the top and then cut the trunk into suitable-length logs, the “swamper” cleared the route along which the log would be “snigged” to the winch, the “whistle-stringy” signalled the winch driver as to what was required by pulling on a whistle-wire running alongside the route of the main rope, while the winch driver tended to his winch and fired the boiler.  Once at the landing adjacent to the winch, the “timber truckies” would load the log onto pairs of log bogies for transport over the tramway to the mill.  Using this system, a good crew could supply about eight logs a day to the sawmill.

This rope-work was installed in 1990 by Ernie Le Brun, former “bush-boss” for the Rubicon Lumber & Tramway Company, and in charge of the Company’s winch operations for many years.