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Humphrey Pump needs help


Hi All,
For those not in the know, the Cobdogla Irrigation Museum (in South Australia) has the only working Humphrey Pump in the world. It received the Institution of Mechanical Engineering Heritage Award in 2011.
Unfortunately the future of the Humphrey Pump and Museum is now in doubt.
It needs our support to keep this valuable and unique piece of heritage equipment alive.

If you can or would like to help, Please refer below:

Thank you for your time.

Best wishes, jayvee :wave:

Uncertain Future For the Museum
Following the gas leak incident in May 2012, SA Water issued a DO NOT RUN order for the Humphrey Pump pending investigations into the cause of the leak and the design and costing of remediation works.
A preliminary assessment conducted by SA Water estimated that significant expenditure is required to bring the Pump and Museum to an acceptable standard. Following an initial assessment, SA Water indicated it would be unable to commit to the capital upgrade required for the Pump and associated infrastructure or to subsidise the ongoing operation of the Museum.
This preliminary estimate of the costs associated with decommissioning the Pump and ensuring that the Museum is safe for use are in the range of $215,000-$300,000.
The Cobdogla Steam Friends and the Barmera National Trust subsequently appointed a sub committee which prepared a submission to SA Water outlining the history of the museum and the necessity of SA Water continuing funding to the Museum.
In addition, letters were written to the C.E.O of SA Water, Mr Ringham, and to Minister I. Hunter asking that this decision be reversed.
Minister Hunter replied that the decision stands, although SA Water is prepared to consider transferring the assets to another party on the basis that they accept responsibility for ongoing maintenance and operation of the Pump and Museum.
The sub committee considers that the cost estimates given by SA Water are too vague and a request to them to give a break down of the estimates has so far been unanswered. There is no indication from SA Water at this stage what works were covered in the estimate.
The Cobdogla Steam Friends and Barmera National Trust have prepared a Petition to Parliament with the following request.
“The following petitioners request that your Honourable House will urge the State Government to take immediate action to have SA Water continue to own and support the Cobdogla Irrigation and Steam Museum whilst allocating the necessary funds to facilitate the ongoing operation of the Humphrey Pump and Museum and to enable current and future generations to appreciate the State's water heritage.”
The Cobdogla Steam Friends and Barmera National Trust are seeking your support in their endeavour to have SA Water continue their previous funding arrangements for the Cobdogla Irrigation & Steam Museum.
If you are able to support the Cobdogla Steam Friends and Barmera National Trust by signing our petition, and also having your friends, family etc do so, then please reply promptly to this communication. A petition will be sent to you, which must then be returned by hand delivery or by mail (P.O. Box 535 Cobdogla S.A. 5346) by Friday, February 27th. 2015.
Thanking you for your support,
The Cobdogla Steam Friends Society Inc.
The Barmera Branch of the National Trust.
Replies to: enquiries@cobdoglasteammuseum.com.au
or Denis 04 1788 3353

Petition Rules
[I]The rules for petitions are quite specific and if the rules are not followed, the petition or parts thereof may be rejected.

Please print at least page 1 and page 2 of the attached copy and staple the pages together.
Should you require more spaces for signatures, extra copies of page 3 may be added to the first two pages.

Signatures must be in ink, and if the signature is not legible, then please print the name as well.
Addresses must be residential or street addresses. Post Office boxes addresses will be rejected.
Use more then one line for the address if required.

Once you have gathered signatures, please post the petition, by no later than Friday 27th February 2015, to

Cobdogla Steam Friends Society Inc
P.O. Box 535

Alternatively, petitions may be hand delivered to any Riverland member of the Cobdogla Steam Friends or the Barmera Branch of the National Trust by Sunday 1st March. Members will be at the museum on Sunday 1st March to receive petitions.

Please return the petitions even if there is only one signature on it. Every one will help.
Unfortunately, electronic replies are not acceptable.

Your interest and support is appreciated.
thank you,
Cobdogla Steam Friends Society Inc
Barmera Branch of the National Trust



Last Subscription Date
Hi Jayvee,
just printed the petition off . Hope to have it at the next club rally for some signatures. Me and the misses will be on it and hopefully more.


Last Subscription Date
Hi Jayvee,

We got the chance a few years ago to go down and have a good look at the pump when they were doing work on it, the chamber that is normally under water was dry.
The pump is very much a valuable piece of history that is definitely worth trying to keep in running condition !!!!
Printed the petition off and will take it to the Barham Museum today, hopefully get plenty to sign it in the next week or so .


For anyone having trouble printing a legible full size copy of the Petition, go to Google and enter "Humphrey Pump Petition" and about the third entry is an NHMA link to a copy of the petition you can download, so sign up a copy and send it!


Hi all,
Just want to say thanks to those of you who signed the petition or went out and "chased" signatures. The Cobby Steam Friends appreciate your efforts in supporting their cause. :salute:

Last weekend the Museum held an Open Day, Reports are that so far they have received 1500 signatures and approx. $700 in donations. Still a long way to go.
The Museum's final day is marked as 30th June 2015, that is when the current funding stops.

If you have not already done so, could you please mail you petitions back to the museum by no later than Friday 27th February
Postal address is;
Cobdogla Steam Friends Society Inc
P.O. Box 535

If you happen to be going to the National Rally in Tasmania this weekend, I'll will have a petition available if you wish to sign. This will be the last opportunity to do so.

Again, Thank you for your support. It is truly appreciated.

Best wishes, jayvee :wave:


Hi All,

For those who may be interested??
The museum had an open day today with this news. :D
Negotiations are continuing re funding "Humphrey", also the museum is trying to organise a couple of "test days" in an attempt to get the "Do not Run" order lifted.

I'm led to believe that the petition has amassed approx. 5000 signatures and will be presented to parliament sometime this week.

Thought I would share this with you.

Best wishes, jayvee :wave:

Cobdogla museum reprieve but Humphrey pumps stay silent

The Cobdogla Irrigation and Steam Museum will remain open after its volunteers secured a commitment from SA Water to continue to fund the Riverland attraction.

But the future of the museum's heritage-listed Humphrey Pump remains uncertain.

The Cobdogla Steam Friends Society volunteers met with an SA Water official last week about concerns funding for the museum would be withdrawn at the end of June.

"We were told they would continue to fund the museum but [SA Water] have indicated that they will not recommission the Humphrey Pump," society secretary Mervin Dunk said.

"Previously they had said they wished to withdraw [their support] as far as possible.

"We were very pleased with that advice, after all without that something like 27 years of endeavour would have gone for nothing."

SA Water has confirmed its ongoing financial support for the museum, which is on SA Water land.

"SA Water will not be withdrawing money or reducing our support of the Cobdogla Steam and Irrigation Museum beyond June," it said in a statement. SA Water has provided about $325,000 in financial support since 2010, which covers council rates, utilities, insurance and ground maintenance.

The society will continue with plans to present a petition to South Australian parliament.

The petition has more than 2000 signatures.

'Change its attitude'
The museum showcases the Riverland's early irrigation history and is home to the heritage-listed Humphrey pumps, the only two working pumps of their kind in the world.

The pumps, each known as Big Thumper, supplied water to the Cobdogla and Loveday district for 40 years, until 1965.

Volunteers are now focussed on the future of the pumps, which have not been operated since a gas leak in 2012.

"We are hoping the Government might decide to change its attitude and decide that it's worth funding [the recommissioning of pump]," Mr Dunk said.

"Until three years ago we had the only working one, to me I would think you would endeavour to keep it.

"The Government has a duty to the public to get the pump recommissioned."

Cost to recommission
SA Water general operations manager Mark Gobby said it would not fund the recommissioning of the pump.

"The pump was shut down because of the working conditions. Back in 2012 there was a gas leak and a couple of people injured. Safework SA and SA Water looked at the pump at that time and we haven't operated it since then," Mr Gobbie told Sallese Gibson from ABC News.

"Our estimates are it would be between $75,000 and $100,000 to get the pump back in working order."

Mr Gobbie said SA Water was not opposed to the pumps being recommissioned but would not fund the venture itself.

"We are very conscious of the fact that it's quite an iconic pump," he said.

"We would be certainly be interested to hear proposals from individuals, organisations or groups of organisations that would be interested in doing that."

Mr Dunk said it was unlikely private funding would be secured.

"White knights within the Riverland are few and far between," he said.

"I think what's required is a change of heart by SA Water regarding their perception of safety issues.

"We are applying 2015 [safety] legislation to something built in the 1920s."