Old Water Wheel

Lighthouse Waterwheel - Augusta Water Wheel


Useful Information

Location: 697 Leeuwin Rd, Leeuwin WA 6290, Cape Leeuwin.
5 km south of Augusta.
(-34.368815, 115.135385)
Open: no restrictions.
[2022]
Fee: free.
[2022]
Classification: KarstTufa Deposits
Light: n/a
Dimension:  
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:  
Address: Leeuwin Road, Augusta, Western Australia, 6290, Tel: +61-8-9780-5911. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1895 lighthouse and waterwheel errected.
01-DEC-1896 lighthouse turned on.
1925 petroleum lamp replaced by electric light.
1928 water wheel abandoned.

Description

The Old Water Wheel is quite special, and despite being a technical monument it has a strong connection to karst. It was erected when the lighthouse was being built. A large wooden waterwheel and aqueduct were constructed to supply the cottages of the stonemasons with fresh water from a natural spring. The spring water turned the wheel, which in turn operated a pump, which piped a small part of the spring water to the cottages. This principle is used since Medieval mining.

When the lighthouse was finished, the masons moved on and the water was no longer needed. The pump was still used to pump water to the house of the lighthouse keeper. But in 1925 the lighthouse was electrified, the old petroleum lamp replaced by electric light. And of course a modern electric water pump was installed. As a result the waterwheel became obsolete.

The water wheel was not demolished, as it had no economic value, as it consisted of wood. It simply continued to run without serving any purpose, and was therefore not maintained. But the water still flew over the now useless wheel, continually depositing limestone on the wooden wheel. The karst water is rich in limestone, which was deposited while flowing over the wheel. After only a few years, such a thick layer of limestone had been deposited on the wheel that it no longer turned.

The wooden wheel is now abandoned for almost 100 years, the whole construction is covered by a thick layer of dripstone. Obviously a fantastic motive for photographers. A semi-natural tufa deposit, created with a little help from some masons.