James Lowe MITCHELL , 1840–1909 (aged 69 years)
‘Invergowrie Station’ was taken up by 18-year-old Scottish settler, James Lowe Mitchell, in 1858. It was initially one square mile or 640 acres. Neighbouring properties were bought out and, by 1875, ‘Invergowrie Station’ exceeded 8000 acres. James died in 1909.
Service at the Presbyterian Church
The New England Antique Machinery Club has gratefully received the donation by Marjorie Moffatt of a Claytons Steam Engine, which is in full working order after 60 years of inaction. The grand old machine spent 40 years powering shearing sheds and chaff cutters before being retired in 1952, replaced by a 3.5 horsepower Lister petrol engine.
To Mrs Moffatt and the members of the New England Antique Machinery Club, this steam engine is the mechanical embodiment of the rural heritage of the Invergowrie and Kingstown districts west of Armidale.
“This magnificent piece of machinery is part of the history of Invergowrie,” Mrs Moffatt said.
“She’s a reminder of the role that the Mitchell, Moffatt and other pioneering families played in our local agricultural and economic development. It means a great deal that she has been brought back to life and will be displayed for the public. Our rural heritage was important to my late husband, Kenneth Hunter Moffatt.”
The Clayton and Suttleworth Steam Engine was based at pioneer property ‘Invergowrie Station’. The property was taken up by 18-year-old Scottish settler, James Lowe Mitchell, in 1858. It was initially one square mile or 640 acres. Neighbouring properties were bought out and, by 1875, ‘Invergowrie Station’ exceeded 8000 acres. James died in 1909. His third eldest surviving son, John Lowe Mitchell, continued the property and in 1912, it was decided that the shearing shed be converted from ‘blade’ (hand-shearing) to a mechanical operation. The purchase of an eight horsepower Claytons Steam Engine not only drove the shearing shed equipment, it also provided power for a small sawmill adjacent to the shearing shed and for chaff cutting.
The stationary engine was pulled out of the shed by two draft horses, when required by ‘Invergowrie Station’ or other nearby properties. Housed in a shearing shed for six decades, the steam engine was well preserved. Yet, there was still a lot of time and elbow grease invested by New England Antique Machinery Club members to restore her to working order. Their mission is to preserve such machines as tangible, functional pieces of history for generations to come. The public will be able to see this Claytons Steam Engine at New England Antique Machinery Club’s Rally over the weekend of November 12 and 13 at the Armidale Exhibition Centre. It is the Club’s 25th anniversary and, at 11am on the Saturday, the Armidale Pipe Band will perform, in celebration of their centenary. The weekend will feature amusements for children in addition to the large and diverse array of live and static displays.