Australia’s biggest windmill is in Penong in South Australia, accompanied with a collection of windmills in the Windmill Museum.
Built in 1932, the windmill was first used by the Commonwealth Railways at the McKinnon Dam to provide water for the railways at Kultanaby Railway siding. It was later purchased by Coondambo station in 1977 and used until 2003 when the fan of the windmill was destroyed by high winds.
The Penong locals decided Australia’s largest windmill would be a perfect inclusion to the historical windmill museum, resurrected and restored in 2016. The windmill is commonly called ‘Bruce’ or ‘Big Bruce’, after the owner Bruce Nutt who has loaned the windmill to the museum.
The windmill, serial number 110, was one of only fifteen 35 foot Comet windmills made and one of only two erected outside of Queensland. Windmill ‘110’ had a span larger than the standard 35′ fans, making it larger than the others. Hence, Australia’s largest.
The windmill is capable of drawing water from 150 metres and pumping over 1 million litres of water a day, or 250,000 gallons in the old measure.
The museum has a number of windmills on display, located off the highway so you need to drive passed the local shop. It is located outdoors so it can be seen at any time of the day. Being outside, the windmills can be seen operating in the wind.
With the move towards using solar powered pumping solutions, the museum is preserving an important part of farming history. There are 20 or so windmills in the collection, many brought back from ruin.
A swing sits among the windmills that at first may seem out of place. Looking closer, the swing is rigged with a similar mechanism to windmills. Take a swing and the water pump brings water flowing.
To get there:
Penong is about 70km west of Ceduna in South Australia. Coming from the east on Eyre Hwy, enter the town and turn right into West Terrace at the brown sign for Windmill Museum and another brown sign for Windmills. The Windmill Museum is about 250m on the right.
Coming from the west on Eyre Hwy (from ), enter the town and turn left into West Terrace at the brown sign for Windmill Museum and another brown sign for Windmills. The Windmill Museum is about 250m on the right.