Junction Reefs Dam

Our interest in Oscar Schulze has not ceased with the publication of the book and we have continued to find out more about him and his works.

After a visit to his dam at Junction Reefs, when I took the photographs that are in Appendix E, we stayed overnight on a nearby farm.  As it turned out the farmer had had involvement in the modern open pit mining at Junctions Reefs that was completed in the late 1990s.  In addition, he had a book of photographs which dated from about 1880, by a Mr Lumme.  Mr Lumme had been a very well known photographer in Sydney and had then moved to Mandurama where he had photographed many of the locals and the local scenes.  His photographic plates had all been lost.

However, when an old building in Mandurama was being demolished, they found under the front veranda over 1000 glass plates with all Lumme’s photographs.  These glass plates were sent to the National Library in Canberra where anybody can now search them over the internet.  The problem is that none of the glass plates were labelled and so it has been difficult to piece together the subjects of his photographs.  It was the photographs from some of these plates that comprised the book that the farmer had in his loungeroom.

After further discussion it transpired that Mr Lumme’s great granddaughter was still alive and living on a farm at a place called Burnt Yards, which is close to Junction Reefs.  We decided to visit Miss Lumme.  It took us some time to find her in the dry valley of Burnt Yards, but it was a valuable find.  She is an amazing lady, more than 80 years old, living on her own and still doing her sheep farming with little or no help. Her life story is amazing and warrants a separate book, but what is relevant here, is that it turned out that she had several of her great grandfather’s photographic albums and these, to my joy, included original photographs of Oscar Schultz’s dam on the Belubula Dam.  On a subsequent visit I scanned these photographs and four of them a reproduced below.  The young boy standing on the dam wall is not Oscar Schulze. Maybe it is Mr. Lumme’s, son.



Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge

In Appendix E we describe how Oscar Schulze came to be the engineer for the Union Bridge Company for the construction of the first Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge.  In following up on Oscar, we discovered that the lady he married, Helen Ester Forsythe, was the daughter of the owner of a major rope manufacturing business in Sydney.  We also discovered that construction of the Hawkesbury River Bridge involved use of some of the largest ropes ever manufactured in Australia.  We have not been able to confirm it, but it is a reasonable guess that these ropes were provided by Forsythe and that this is how Oscar came to meet his future bride.  In a subsequent blog we will give more information about Helen, her wealthy but rather strange father, and the Schultz children.  For the present we just include a beautiful photograph we found that shows both the first and second Hawkesbury River Railway Bridges before the first was demolished and the steel used for building railway workshops at Chullora.