Queensland contractors have preserved the delicate, heritage-listed Loudoun Weir, as part of a $95,000 project.
The operation involved a painstaking mix of a CCTV camera, 20 wheely bins worth of concrete and a hunt for just the right type of tree, with the guidance of locals.
Local contractors repaired the 135-year-old weir at Irvinebank on the Atherton Tablelands in the far north of the state.
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the finished product was a great example of his Department of Resources’ often-unseen work protecting the state’s heritage.
“The first European tin, copper and gold discoveries in the 19th century have left Queensland towns like Irvinebank, Gympie and Charters Towers with a lasting historical tourism legacy,” he said.
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“Thanks to decades of advances in environmental and engineering science, we can now maintain that legacy and keep the surrounding communities and natural environment safe.”
The original timber Loudoun Weir was built in 1885 as part of the Vulcan tin mine complex, with the mill and treatment works on its foreshore.
The Queensland Government upgraded the weir to concrete in 2006, but retained the original timber in the weir’s façade.
The first leak was spotted in a 2017 routine inspection and an incoming water entry point was sealed off as a temporary measure.
The permanent seal job started in December 2020 with a significant void found in the weir wall. With the help of a CCTV cable, departmental staff established that five cubic metres worth of concrete would fill the void and stop the leak.
Once the dam stopped overflowing mid-year, six logs in the heritage-listed weir façade also had to be replaced, requiring input from locals on like-for-like timber.
Irvinebank Progress Association president Robyne Perkes said the department’s work was “a godsend”.
“It has saved our dam, which is a significant part of the history of our town and plays a big role in tourism for us,” she said.
“John Moffat built that dam to start the Loudoun Mill and Irvinebank itself.
“The town is very appreciative of the work that was done to seal the dam again and also retain the heritage value of the timber logs in the dam wall.”
Loudoun Weir is one of 21 non-commercial dams and weirs maintained by the Department of Resources.