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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 11

I The Present Energy Economy

II Australian Energy Consumption

III Research And Development

IV Coal

V Oil And Natural Gas

VI Solar Energy
i Research and Development
ii The state of the art
iii Collectors
iv The solar water heating industry
v Industrial applications
vi Swimming pool heating
vii Building heating and cooling
viii Photovoltaics
ix Wind power
x Cooling
xi The International Solar Energy Society

VII Nuclear Energy

VIII Bagasse Firewood And Other Biomass

IX Electric Power Generation And Distribution electric Power Generation And Distribution

X Manufactured Gas

XI Industrial Process Heat



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Wind power

The earliest use of wind power in Australia was for water pumping. The early farmers and graziers and even town dwellers where there was no reticulated water supply relied on windmills to lift water from bores, wells, creeks and dams to elevated tanks to supply bathrooms, garden sprinklers and stock watering points so that rain water could be conserved for drinking and cooking. Wind power was important for the 19th century rural economy.

John Danks and Son Pty. Ltd. of Melbourne was one of the first manufacturers of windmills but though the firm was founded in 1858 there is no record of the first windmill. Certainly by 1880 there appear to have been several manufacturers. Griffiths Bros. and Co. of Toowoomba (now Southern Cross Corporation Ltd.) built their first windmill in 1876. Up to 1893 Griffiths mills were normally made to order and the design frequently was modified to suit a customer's particular requirements. The mills and towers were predominantly of wood, with the wheel operating behind the tower. After this date they introduced geared windmills, with the wheel on the windward side of the tower. In Melbourne Danks had been making their Canvas Sail windmill and around 1893 introduced 'Alston's Patent Iron Windmill' which had galvanized iron sails, a main body casting and angle iron frame.

Figure 16

16 6.1 m Southern Cross windmill built circa 1875.

Figure 17

17 A modern direct acting windmill.

For the generation of electric power the Dunlite unit which is built in Adelaide is the most widely used. Recently in Western Australia Westwind Turbines began development of 30 kW and 60 kW wind turbines for electricity production which are currently being evaluated by the State Energy Commission of Western Australia.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Griffiths Bros. and Co.; John Danks and Son Pty Ltd; Southern Cross Corporation Ltd; State Energy Commission of W.A.; Westwind Turbines

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© 1988 Print Edition page 813, Online Edition 2000
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