Vent-O-Mat Air Valves Used to Protect Historic Woodstave Pipeline in Tasmania
Pictured below is a section of the historic Lake Margaret timber pipeline that has been recently rebuilt
utilising the superior technology provided by Ventomat Air Release and Vacuum Break Valves
with Integral Surge-Alleviation Mechanism.
The Old Pipeline:
In 1911 the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company at Queenstown, Tasmania built a hydroelectric
power station at Lake Margaret, it is one of the oldest hydro-electric plants in the Southern Hemisphere.
In the early 1980’s it was taken over by Hydro Tasmania and in 2006 it was closed down due to safety concerns spurned from the 70 year old ‘King Billy’ pipeline springing many leaks and the pipe requiring constant maintenance that was putting operators at risk. According to Earthmover and Civil Contractor Magazine it was dubbed “the world’s biggest soaker hose” (see picture below). In early 2007, during a period of drought, the leakage in the pipe was so bad that it drew down the level of Lake Margaret by 10% from the leaks alone. One way the operators fixed the leaks was by flushing a bag of saw dust down the pipeline (Huon Pine worked the best because of its excellent anti-rotting properties).
The King Billy Pine used to construct the pipeline was not actually the first material used (wood was the chosen material as it was cheaper than other materials at the time such as steel and was also expected to last longer). In 1913 The Australian Woodpipe Company determined that the local King Billy pines’ properties were not good enough for the construction of the pipeline and subsequently Oregon Pine was imported from Canada. This deteriorated very quickly and had to be replaced in 1938 when the local King Billy Pine was utilised and the line remained in service until 2006. The King Billy Pine is named after William Lanne or King Billy who was the last full-blooded Aboriginal male in Tasmania and after