John James Newspaper Story

John James Newspaper Story

From Maryborough Advertiser 1946
Many people will remember John James's son, Claude James, who was himself something of a mechanical whiz, and a remarkable person in so many other ways. But from all accounts Claude's father John was quite exceptional, and could turn his skillful hands to a very wide range of tasks.
One of John James' best known achievements was to repair the pump shaft at the Poverty Mine in 1886. The massive cast iron shaft smashed in half under the great strain placed upon it. The mine was in dire straits, and would quickly flood if something couldn't be done urgently. The mine manager threw his hands up and declared the mine ruined, but John James came to the fore and quickly set up a big forge in the mine's engine house. A team of blacksmith's strikers worked non-stop for 28 hours under John James' direction, the massive shaft was welded together and somehow machined accurately on a makeshift lathe. The pumps were restarted in time to save the mine, and the repaired shaft ran perfectly for years after.
John James' successful efforts to save the mine were praised widely, and his reputation quickly grew. But not only could he work with heavy machinery, he also - in later life - turned his remarkable hand to fine woodworking, as you will see in Lewis Wills' article.
I hope you enjoy the story. John James was certainly one of Tarnagulla's most notable sons.


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