Meet one of the last windmill repairmen in Australia – who has climbed 10,000 windmills

One of Australia’s last windmill repairmen has given an inside look at his profession as the distinctive outback features become obsolete.

Owen Tydd, 71, from New South Wales’ North West Slopes, has repaired windmills in the drought-affected region and beyond for the past 30 years.

Mr Tydd estimates he has climbed 10,000 of the structures in his career, helping thousands of farmers in the process.  

One of Australia's last windmill repairmen (pictured) has given an inside look at his profession as the old technology slowly becomes obsolete

One of Australia’s last windmill repairmen (pictured) has given an inside look at his profession as the old technology slowly becomes obsolete

Owen Tydd, 71, from New South Wales' North West Slopes, has repaired windmills in the drought-affected region and beyond for the past 30 years

Owen Tydd, 71, from New South Wales’ North West Slopes, has repaired windmills in the drought-affected region and beyond for the past 30 years

Mr Tydd estimates he has climbed 10,000 of the energy-generating structures in his career, helping thousands of farmers in the process

Mr Tydd estimates he has climbed 10,000 of the energy-generating structures in his career, helping thousands of farmers in the process

‘I’ve been in the industry for 30-odd years, I haven’t kept count, and the Lord only knows how many windmills I have climbed in that time, probably a thousand every three years,’ he said.

‘You sort of have a personal relationship with them – I don’t know why but you do. 

‘Some of them I hate. Some of them I love, but you gotta remember, they’re an inanimate object, but most of them have got human personalities.’

‘I’ve been in the industry for 30-odd years, I haven't kept count, and the Lord only knows how many windmills I have climbed in that time, probably a thousand every three years,' he said

‘I’ve been in the industry for 30-odd years, I haven't kept count, and the Lord only knows how many windmills I have climbed in that time, probably a thousand every three years,' he said

‘I’ve been in the industry for 30-odd years, I haven’t kept count, and the Lord only knows how many windmills I have climbed in that time, probably a thousand every three years,’ he said

Windmills were once commonplace across the Australian outback - providing a vital function by milling grain and pumping groundwater

Windmills were once commonplace across the Australian outback – providing a vital function by milling grain and pumping groundwater

‘You sort of have a personal relationship with them - I don't know why but you do,' Mr Tydd said

‘You sort of have a personal relationship with them – I don’t know why but you do,’ Mr Tydd said

'Some of them I hate. Some of them I love, but you gotta remember, they’re an inanimate object, but most of them have got human personalities.'

‘Some of them I hate. Some of them I love, but you gotta remember, they’re an inanimate object, but most of them have got human personalities.’

Why are windmills being phased out in Australia? 

Traditional windmills first appeared in Australia in the late 1800s and soon became a symbol of the country’s bushland because of their ability to provide a permanent water supply.

But in recent years new power supplies like electric submersible pumps and solar pumps are being introduced to perform the same purpose 

Owen Tydd said he was happy with the old-fashioned technology being replaced as it saved him from having to climb windmills 

Windmills are different to the modern wind turbines, which convert wind into practical energy, rather than grind gain and pump water

Windmills were once commonplace across the Australian outback – providing a vital function by milling grain and pumping groundwater.

But with the advent of new technologies, the iconic structures are now becoming obsolete.

The rise of new technologies have led to power sources like solar panels gradually replacing windmills.   

With the advent of new technologies, the iconic structures are now becoming obsolete

With the advent of new technologies, the iconic structures are now becoming obsolete

The rise of new technologies have led to power sources like solar panels gradually replacing windmills

The rise of new technologies have led to power sources like solar panels gradually replacing windmills

'They (windmills) are all becoming fairly old, with new windmills available but not a lot being put up,' he said

'They (windmills) are all becoming fairly old, with new windmills available but not a lot being put up,' he said

‘They (windmills) are all becoming fairly old, with new windmills available but not a lot being put up,’ he said

‘They (windmills) are all becoming fairly old, with new windmills available but not a lot being put up,’ he said.

‘This is sort of forcing the obsolescence of windmills, even though I believe the technology still has a lot to offer’. 

‘The thought pattern at present is if you want to put something new in to pump water, you either put in an electric submersible pump, or a solar pump.’

'The thought pattern at present is if you want to put something new in to pump water, you either put in an electric submersible pump, or a solar pump,' he said

‘The thought pattern at present is if you want to put something new in to pump water, you either put in an electric submersible pump, or a solar pump,’ he said

Despite his training in windmills, Mr Tydd said he happily welcomes the technological change

Despite his training in windmills, Mr Tydd said he happily welcomes the technological change

But despite his training in windmills, Mr Tydd said he happily welcomes the technological change.  

‘Because I am just about to retire, I am not going to argue about that. I’m going to convince people to put in solar pumps to save me from being asked to climb their windmills’.   

Windmills first appeared in Australia in the late 1800s and soon became a symbol of the country’s bushland because of their ability to provide a permanent water supply.

Windmills first appeared in Australia in the late 1800s and soon became a symbol of the country's bushland because of their ability to provide a permanent water supply.

Windmills first appeared in Australia in the late 1800s and soon became a symbol of the country’s bushland because of their ability to provide a permanent water supply.

 

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