Hi all, Jen and I usually do a touring type holiday in the van on the Queens Birthday long weekend each year, as sitting around in the great outdoors can be a bit challenging in June in Victoria. We didn’t have to worry too much this time as on each day the temperature approached double figures Ha! We left for the Rubicon Valley Historic Area which is about 2 hours drive north east of Melbourne. Once the van was set up and we had a warm cuppa in the tummy, I popped down to check out the Rubicon River which was less than 10 metres from the van; the sound of the water bubbling along was just so tranquil. When we were at camp we didn’t venture far from our fire, although the fire was just for its aesthetic value only ok! There were a number of roads and tracks nearby that I hadn’t been on before (Virgin ones as I call them) so I was keen to get out into the bush and experience what this historic area had to offer. On the way we came across this logging coupe which was quite a contrast to the surrounding forests. So much waste just left behind. After they log an area they often set what’s left on fire, this clears away some of the waste that’s left and is also supposed to aide in the areas rehabilitation. Often those fires extend into nearby areas that add to the damage done. We soon came to the Royston Power Station. It produces power from water that has been channeled by a viaduct from the Royston Dam over 2 kilometres away. The water is then diverted by another viaduct down to The Rubicon Power Station. We came across this gate system that is used to regulate the water along the viaduct. About twenty metres to the west of that system is the unusually named “Fifteen Thousand Foot Siphon Trestle Bridge”. It was so named because of its distance in feet from the beginning of the tramline at the top of a nearby haulage line. The Bridge was totally destroyed by bushfires a few years ago but has since been reconstructed to the exact original specifications. A bit further along the track we came to the Rubicon Falls Dam, not large by world standards, Ha! but very picturesque just the same. It had an unusual spillway or overflow. Note the dead tree that has been lodged near the spillway, the water must have been pumping through there at some stage. Further downstream and along the track we came to the main Rubicon Power Station. This whole historic area was the site of one of the earliest hydro-electric power schemes in Victoria. The Rubicon scheme as it was known was completed in 1929 and consisted of four power stations and associated dams, aqueducts and pipelines. During the 1930’s, the scheme contributed about one-fifth of Victoria’s electricity needs. Whilst still in operation today, its contribution to the states power grid is now pretty small. On display nearby is this Pelton Wheel. This particular wheel is a water impulse turbine and was invented by American Lester Allan Pelton in the 1870s. The Pelton wheel extracts energy from the impulse of moving water, as opposed to the weight like traditional overshot water wheels. Peltons paddle geometry was designed so that when the rim runs at the speed of the water jet, the water leaves the wheel with very little speed, extracting almost all of its energy, and allowing for a very efficient turbine. How about that!!!