The diesel engine that once provided electrical power to residents of Shepparton and the Radio Australia transmitters is now a shining feature for a vintage engine display which will be open to the public this weekend.
While the national debate rages about power generation, the region has its own reminder of how power was once provided to rural cities and towns.
The huge Crossley diesel was imported from Great Britain during World War II and supplied power to the strategically important Radio Australia facility, and later back-up power when the transmitters became part of the grid.
The Crossley diesel was rescued from the Radio Australia site by members of Goulburn Valley Vintage Tractor and Farm Machinery Club.
The engine was dismantled and moved from the Radio Australia facility in Verney Rd, and after several years in storage it was pieced together by the club at its Wunghnu shed.
The foundations for the huge engine required about 38 cubic metres of concrete and 10 tonnes of steel.
The men reckon that if the five tonne flywheel ever got loose, it would run through the shed wall and not stop before Nathalia. In the corner of the shed is a giant spare piston.
‘‘Would that take two men to lift?’’ Country News asked.
‘‘More likely a crane,’’ was the reply.
Restoration required some creativity on a large scale. The air cleaner is actually a painted-up 44 gallon drum, with a foam mattress inside to provide the filtration.
Despite its size, the engine is remarkably efficient, and club member Robin Close said they did not have to fill the fuel tank too often.
But if it needs an oil change, they have to find 200 litres of oil.
■ The Crossley diesel will be demonstrated at the annual vintage rally and tractor pull on March 25 and 26 at Wunghnu Recreation Reserve.
The event will include vintage engine demonstrations, working exhibits, tractor pulling with two sleds, wood turners and miniature train rides. It will also feature Allis-Chalmers tractors.