The West Darling Machinery Preservation Society was established in 1988 by a group of machinery enthusiasts.
Their aim is to restore heritage machinery back to working order or to working appearance. Originally, the members met at each other’s homes but in 1990 the organisation established a base in Crystal St known as “The Conservation Centre”, which is used to restore the engines, but also to display them for public viewing.
This site would be of interest to most visitors to Broken Hill, particularly those who have an interest in machinery and technology and the skills involved in restoration. The museum holds a broad collection of objects that reflect the industrial and technological history of the Broken Hill region and also houses objects that illustrate the innovative technology that has been an important part of the area.
The Broken Hill City Council supports the group by providing the workshop premises, plant equipment and storage facilities. The group has 31 volunteers, 14 of which are active members.
Entry to the museum is free, and donations are welcome. Open Thurs & Sun 9am-12pm & by appointment, located at The Conservation Centre, 479 Crystal St.
Programs and Activities
The group are involved with the following activities and programs which enhance the community of Broken Hill and help to preserve its heritage:
- Restoration Projects for historical and heritage groups in Broken Hill and the region. These include the Geocentre, Browne’s Shaft Junction Mine, Block 10-Aerial Ropeway Exhibit, Line of Lode and the Silverton Gaol and Broken Hill Historical Society.
- The group have been mounting displays at Agfair, a regional agricultural gathering, since 1994.
- The group mounts displays at other community events including the local show and the bi-annual Anzac Day “Show and Shine” in conjunction with the Vintage and Veterans Car Club.
- The group share their skills with others in the community. This includes a program on Thursday mornings for people with disabilities.
- Penrose Train Project.
There is a wide range of objects on display at the museum and a number of them have high significance. The following objects are both significant and relate to the main stories told at the museum.
The museum has two of the lathes manufactured at Broken Hill during the wartime program. These are 1942 and 1943 lathes. The blue lathe (1943) was brought back to Broken Hill through the National Trust and donated by Bruce and Margot Duncan from Newcastle.
The train has been restored and is part of the museum’s collection.
Parsons Marine Engine
The engine was housed at the Central Power Station and provided a crucial role in the early days as the ignition for the main diesel power station engines.