Woodbridge Coal Dam

Over in Midland in the locality of Woodbridge, buried in between a couple of housing blocks, is Coal Dam Park. The main feature of Coal Dam Park is, as you might expect, a coal dam.

The following four photographs are from a set of 36 that I took at the coal dam.

No, I wasn’t using film. That isn’t why I took 36 frames. It just happened that way.





The first three images are single-shot HDR (High Dynamic Range) processed images using RAW format files from my Pentax K-7 and doing the HDR processing using Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. The fourth image, in which you can see the housing estate in the background, is not a HDR image—this is a JPG direct from the camera that has been slightly cropped (a bit off the bottom) and the levels have been set.

I have talked about single-shot HDR images on my site before (here and here).

From what I can work out about this “coal dam” it was set up back in the days of steam engine trains and Midland (Woodbridge) was a large train yard—circa 1915. Coal for the engines was brought up from Collie some 200 kilometres away (120 miles) and stockpiled in the dam. Hence the train tracks going out over the dam.

There are two sets of tracks over the dam. You can see the supports for both sets of tracks in the last picture. One set (the set in the foreground) were for the trains to dump the coal and later get re-loaded with it. The other set (on the other side of the dam) were for a rail-based long-arm loader. The rails for the long-arm loader are featured in the first and third pictures.

Apparently the type of coal we have down at Collie needs to be stored this way, in water, or it deteriorates (whatever that means).

When and as coal was needed it was drawn back out of the dam by the loader, loaded back onto a train, transported to the drying stockpile where it was left for about three days to dry sufficiently, and then used by the steam locomotives.