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2 corrections, most recently by brucehowlett - Show corrections


(communicated.) On Wednesday last Mr. Magill, contractor for reticulating the town for water supply, essayed a new departure by experimenting in deep trenching by steam power ; and the success of the trial made justifies the assumption that another nail has been driven into the coffins of Messrs. Pick, Shovel and Co.     The plough and scoop have long been suc- cessfully employed in excavating for the con- servation of water, but I think this is about the first attempt at utilising modern improvements in steam power fpr the purpose of opening up the ground in connection with pipe laying. Mr. Magill had the traction engine (Mr. Adlam's) and a large iron plough (made ex- pressly for him by Mr. Fish of Bentinck-street) taken out of town some distance for the pur- pose of testing their capabilities. The first part of the performance was conducted in a paddock belonging to Mr. Kite, between Kelso and the Denison Bridge. On the engine being made stationary by blocking up the large       wheels, a steel wire cable was run out to its' utmost length (about 50 yards) and was then connected with the plough. I must here mention that Mr. Joy officiated at the handles, and otherwise controlled the monster. The wheels being set to allow of the plough burying itself to a depth of about 10 inches, little time was lost before the word was given to "fire away!" upon which the cable gradually tightened, and the huge thing of iron began to burrow its way through the soil, steady and straight, almost up to the engine. The drivers very speedily brought their engine round to the other end of the furrow, where a second furrow was drawn, turning the earth back into the previous one opened. Mr. Magill now called upon his men, half-a-dozen of whom were armed for the occasion with long-handled shovels, to fall to and clear out the trench, which was done very smartly indeed. Several pocket rules now made, their appearance, and the trench was measured all possible ways, the width being two feet by a depth of ten inches — a very creditable trench, straight and   even. For the next furrow the plough was run back to the other end by the men, and after a little adjustment by Mr. Joy she was again on her mission, this time going about seven inches below the bottom and to one side. On the completion of this furrow an adjournment was     made to the buggy in which lay several bottles of whiskey, soda, beer, &c, and after justice had been done to these a consultation was held as to the advisability of continuing the operations until the required depth, (thirty inches) was attained. All concerned seemed fully satisfied with what had been done, and as the evening was wearing on Mr. Joy's proposal to " get her into the metal" was forthwith acted upon. The trench was filled up in a " brace of shakes " and the apparatus was re- moved to an old piece of metalled road on this   side of the river adjacent to the bridge. This, it was remarked, would be equal in stiffness     to anything that would be met with in the streets. Immediately a start was made here it could be seen that with a few slight improve- ments to the plough, she would do all that would be required of her, the only difference in   the performance being the slightly electrified   appearance of Mr. Joy, whilst holding on to the handles. Although Mr. Magill had not made public his intention, there were, I suppose, be-   tween 50 and 60 persons on the ground, amongst whom were several prominent citizens. Just as old Sol was beginning to disappear operations were brought to a close, and congratulations   offered on the success of the experiment. From calculations based on the trial, Mr. Magill believes that it is possible to open up half-a- mile of street per day, if required.