26 April 2015

How to store wheat

It has been a while, however it is not lack of interest, just time.

As mentioned in earlier posts, I have been trawling Trove - the Australian National Library's excellent digitised newspaper (and other documents) service for stories about the Coonamble line. It was always a manageable task until Trove recently uploaded years of the Wellington Times, Narromine News and Trangie Advocate, and the Gilgandra and Castlereagh Weekly onto the site. Now I think I know more about the comings and goings at Eumungerie in the 1930s than the then-residents did. There have been many gems which I hope to write up in coming months but for now I heading back to that favourite topic of mine - wheat storage and transport.

This is the Eumungerie grain storage facility that I grew up with - SO41 bins and a bulkhead.

 Prior to the erection of the wheat bulkheads in 1968, bulk wheat was stored under a makeshift corrugated iron shed in those years when the harvest was greater than the capacity of the silo.  Here is a shot of the temporary shed from the south, taken in 1963.

Before there was bulk what, it was bagged wheat.  And lots of it. I don't know the year the following photo was taken, but I suspect it was early to mid-1930s. Taken from the silo itself, in the left foreground there is a slab of railway sleepers awaiting bagged wheat.

Every time I look at the previous photograph I find something new.  I have been mesmerised by the queue - with the collection of now vintage trucks and drays all waiting their turn to unload. Until now I hadn't notices the laconic pose of the gentleman sitting on the edge of the wheat stack.

It hasn't been all Trove treasures though. The humble Facebook has turned up the Eumungerie Community page. I never like to swipe other people's stuff off the internet, particularly without attribution but I cant find the owner of the following photo so describing how I cam upon it will have to do for fir dealing etc. Anyway, its a cracker!

It shows a half stacked wheat stack, taken from Eumungerie station. Just look at the way it was stacked, with the vertical walls facing the railway line.

Looking further north, two more stacks can been seen. These appear to be hay or wool stacks but are too indistinct to be identified properly. A gem of a photo!

So, for me its back to Trove and more digging!

Ciao for now,




  1. Don

    The low relief wheat shed was actually relativilly common around the state, there was a very large one at Gunnedah as well as at Boggabri & survived fairly late in the piece. The Gdh one I think went first with the Boggabri one still there in the 80's & while not used by that time for bagged wheat it was an overflow for other grains.

    I am also pretty sure that some survived out along the Broken Hill line for some years as well.

    They were built also with the hope that they would be more resilient against rodent attacks, but with varying degrees of unsuccess.

    The sight of a long line up of wheat bearing trucks was very common even well into the 60's at bumper crop times. I can remember going on some photo expeditions to the western area, & seeing all manner of trucks lined up for miles at the likes of Wellington, Molong, as well as others in the districts.

    At one point at the end of 1969, when at Werris Creek, trucks lined up outside the complex & stretched up & towards Warrigundi on the Tamwrorth Rd, also out towards the Gap, stretching some 2 Km;s. The best part of it was how quick the loads were dumped & they got back to the farms.

    All manner of trucks would come out of the paddocks & get restricted temporary registrations for 90days, many old blitz & other ex military vehicles could be seen in the lineups, the further out one got the older they seemed to be, & by the time Gurley was reached, one wondered if horse & carts would be seen.

    Biggest regret is not having the camera to record them, sadly too much of that error was to be had.

  2. Col,

    Great to hear from you! I have often marveled at the collection of vehicles used to move grain (and wool and stock) when times were good. Can't imagine what the response would be if you rocked into an RMS office these days to announce that you wanted a temporary rego for something that had sat in your shed for a decade.

    On the bulk grain sheds - do you know if they had a dirt floor or was there some attempt to provide a base of sleepers or even hessian bags?



  3. Don

    From what I reccolect they had concrete floors, only seen when the structures were removed, attempts to keep out the rodents but not really succesfull from my understandings.

    For me, if I had the room I would love to try & have one on my layout. IF only.

    1. Thanks Col,

      Yes, space is everything. in HO I am trying to cram Eumungerie into 5.5 metres - the prototype length would be nearly 8 metres. Its doable, just.

      But its the width that does me in. I am using 600mm boards as that is the most I can get away with. After putting the lines in pretty hard up against the front of the layout and dropping in the silos (thank you Mr Auscision for the work house) there is really only room for a narrow road and some low relief buildings.

      'Selective compression' demands that the bulkheads get sacrificed, so I decided to model pre-1968 (when the permanent structure was erected) and was hoping that the grain shed had a dirt floor so it could just 'disappear'.

      Looks like the easiest thing would have been to model 1926 - prior to the first silo!


  4. Don

    You could also just model halve the shed & having it set back against wall if feasonable. A couple of my buildings finish basically at the top pitch of the roof line, where a tree or other distrraction could close off the other omited side.

  5. Hi Don
    Great site, how does one contact you? Can you get back to me on vortexspinner8@gmail.com. Good news.