This photograph from the Clyde Engineering collection shows a winnower sitting on a light truck outside the Eddy Avenue entrance to Central Railway Station, the main railway terminus in Sydney. The white sign on the side of the winnower states it is ?SOLD.?
Both the winnower and truck were made by the large Australian firm, The Clyde Engineering Co. Ltd at Granville, a Sydney suburb. The firm made agricultural machinery, engineering equipment, and railway rolling stock during the first half of the twentieth century.
A winnower separated wheat grains from chaff and dirt before being bagged. Within the machine, fans directed air through the grains as it fell from the hopper on top of the machine (this process is known as winnowing). The dirt and chaff was blown out the back while small grains, weed seed and more dirt were shaken out of the wheat grains through a sieve in the bottom. Small grains were separated out in order to produce a standard size.
The first modern winnower was produced in England in 1710, while the first winnower in Australia was made in 1838 by John Bagshaw. This machine was welcomed in Australia because hand winnowing with a flail was very labour intensive, dusty and efficient especially during the hot Australian summers.
This photograph was printed from a large series of Works photographs in the collection, ?The Clyde Photograph Collection.? Almost all of the glass plate negatives that make up this collection were taken at the Clyde works in Granville, and depict both the workers and the machinery they manufactured. Subjects covered include: railway locomotives and rolling stock; agricultural equipment; large engineering projects funded by Australian State and Federal governments; airplane maintenance and construction and Clyde's contribution to the first and second World Wars. Some photographs date back to the 1880s but most were taken between 1898 and 1945.
This collection of photographs is an archive of national significance due to its unique relationship to the industrial technology, engineering and commerce of New South Wales. In Australia few collections of this nature have survived to the present day especially ones which cover one company's activities from the 1880s through to the 1950s in such depth.
The photographs are also significant in their illustration of the important contribution made by Clyde Engineering to the social fabric of New South Wales. By 1923 Clyde had 2,200 employees working round the clock on eight hour shifts. Some of these lived in houses specially built by the company in Granville and the works had its own fire brigade, ambulance service, gun club and was home to Australia's first soccer club.
Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, Total Asset Management Project, February, 2008
Sidney Wilkinson-Flicker, Museum Studies Intern, January 2011.
Murray, J., Phoenix to the World; the Story of Clyde Industries and Sir Raymond Purves, CBE, Playright Publishing Pty Ltd., 1992
The Clyde Engineering Company Limited, Visit to Clyde Works of the delegates of Chambers of Commerce of the British Empire, 21 September 1909, Cumberland Argus Printing Works, 1909?
Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division, Steam Locomotives Built by the Clyde Engineering Co. Pty. Ltd., Granville, Australia, Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales, date unknown
Blandford, Percy, ?Old Farm Tools and Machinery: An Illustrated History?, David and Charles, London, 1976, p. 129.
Culpin, C., ?Farm Machinery?, Crosby Lockwood & Son, London, 1947, p. 315.
Simpson, Margaret and Phillip, ?Old Farm Machinery in Australia: A Fieldguide & Sourcebook?, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, 1991, p. 61-62.