photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
This is one of three significant early views of the Esk Bank Ironworks which were donated to the Powerhouse Museum by the Royal Australian Historical Society. These works were the only iron-making venture to survive through the economic downturn of the 1880s and their survival was mainly due to one man Daniel Williams.
Having established himself as a building contractor in Melbourne Williams then reinvented himself as a railway contractor before finally investing his energies into Lithgow’s budding iron making industry.
In this photograph taken in mid-1877 we can see the engine house with the smoke stack on the left. The round blast furnace in the centre complete with its lighter fire-bricks. And at the base the corrugated iron roof of the lean-to which protected the winding machinery used to winch the charge materials to the top of the furnace.
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Bob McKillop, Furnace Fire and Forge, 2006