OUR COMPANY HISTORY
Mr Sidney Williams (1851-1936), the original founder of Comet Windmills manufactured a diverse range of rural products. He founded the Sidney Williams & Company in 1879 in Rockhampton QLD.
Comet Windmill Patterns
From 1910 through to 1925 various Windmill Patterns were introduced – namely ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ & ‘D’ of which most were superseded and replaced with today’s current Pattern sizes – ‘C’ Pattern (sizes 6, 8, 10, 12 14, 35ft) and ‘D’ Pattern (sizes 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 27, and 30ft). For over 130 years Comet specialised in the design and manufacture of windmill pumping plants for Outback Australia. Mr Williams recognised that wind is the greatest natural source of energy and that it is freely available day and night. He also knew that it had to be reliable with minimal mechanical breakdowns. Mills operating on both the direct-acting and geared principles were designed and made by the Company. Pumping tests were carried out and performances under actual working conditions in the country were carefully checked. As the pumping efficiencies were improved so too was the quality of the products, in accordance with the Company’s strict policy of endeavouring to produce the best windmill in the world.
Manufacturing facilities were established
The engineering works at Dulwich Hill covered 2½ acres of ground. This was the largest and most-up-to-date Windmill Factory in Australia at the time. In 1920 the Government introduced contracting for windmill pumping plants over the following 30 years including all Railways, Councils, Water Commission, Stock Routes, etc. In the Northern Territory, Comet Pumping Plants were the sole choice on all major Stock Routes and were the predominant force in all other states for other Government contracts. In the 1940’s the firm manufactured guns and equipment during the 2nd World War. Sidney Williams along with most other manufacturers was ordered to undertake the manufacture of items for the defence industry. These items included brake drums or bogey wheel castings for tanks and armoured carriers, steel frame army huts principally for the new guinea campaign, high precision gauges & jigs made in a specially built and equipped annexe at Dulwich Hill for the small arms factory at Lithgow and Comet Mills to equip stock routes in the Northern Territory in support of the beef industry. At its height over 500 employees were engaged by the Firm of engineers of which Mr. Williams was principal. In addition to Dulwich Hill the firm had another large works in Rockhampton – the original home of the Firm – branch offices and stores in Brisbane and in Townsville, and well over one hundred Agents throughout Australia. This is perhaps the best evidence of the superiority of COMET Mills and why they have earned the reputation of being‘Australia’s Leading Mill’. Besides Sidney Williams and Co. being in windmill and associated pump manufacture, they were also building corrugated tanks, tank stands, sheep jetters, steel frame buildings, steel dips, fire ploughs, saw benches, winches, etc. Their operations embraced the manufacture of pastoral machinery, including windmills and pumps capable of raising as much as 200,000 gallons per day.
The company survived two (2) World Wars, depressions and three family generations. They became known as ‘Australia’s Leading Mill’ which is still reflected today with comments such as ‘the Rolls Royce of Windmills’ by clients.
In the 1980’s the last generation Mr Bruce Williams, pursued other interests and tried to steer the business in a new direction. In 1992 Bruce sold to a Turf Irrigation business that design and install golf course irrigation. This name change had profound effects on the business. In 1998 this business was terminated. In 2002 Darren and Melissa Fitzgerald set up their own company and commenced manufacturing and trading. Comet Windmills Australia Pty Ltd relocated to Macksville on the mid north coast of NSW in a cost cutting project and improve the company’s access to facilities and services. In 2004 Macksville local businessman Mr Lyle Spalding became a partner and director in the company.
We are proud of our achievements
The business has created local full-time jobs and supplied the area with a more diverse range of manufacturing capability. Comet Windmills has provided the mid north coast with access to modern renewable energy power and storage technology. The many applications that the company has expanded the use of the windmill now encompasses eco tourism, aquaculture, dewatering of swamps and mine sites, irrigation, educational training, and of course domestic, stock and industrial water supply. With ‘green’ energy demand now more focused on renewable technologies such as wind power the company has established agents and services in other countries to facilitate demand. With over 130 years built into the Australian market the company has recently applied its experience and technology to constructing towers for another Australian company. Lloyd Energy Systems Pty Ltd has created a large scale, low cost, energy storage system based on high purity graphite. The system is about the size of a shipping container and simply collects solar energy via tracking heliostats, which are mirrors that track the passage of the sun across the sky, and focus the sun’s energy into the graphite ‘storage block’.
The towers used are 20 meters tall which is the same height as a rural windmill. The block weighs about 15 tonnes and sits on top of the tower. The block has 10 tonnes of graphite inside it, and the whole concept is that it’s modular. Each of those modules occupies about a quarter of a hectare, or an acre, which can determine the size of the plant that is produced.
Lloyd Energy appointed Comet Windmills Australia to carry out the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management of steel towers for their solar thermal power stations. This project was successfully completed at Lake Cargellico, NSW in May 2009 and Comet Windmills will again partner with Lloyd Energy Systems in the next project to be based in Cloncurry QLD.
In 2009 an agreement with High Performance Wind-Turbines Pty Ltd (HPW) an Australian based company was formalized. HPW has been working for over 12 years to formulate and create a new High Performance Wind-turbine (Vertical Axis) designed to supersede the current “eyesore” Fan Turbines located throughout Europe and here in Australia.
Comet Windmills Australia has agreed to the supply and erection of towers and other technical engineering and data alliance strategies.
It is the firm belief of the company that renewable energy will be the energy of choice for future generations. Wind power is still cheaper and more efficient than solar power at present and with the wide selection of products available from Comet Windmills you are sure to get a system that suits your needs.
Low cost and low maintenance that lasts a lifetime is surely all the proof you need when choosing your next pumping system. And a company that is up to date with modern renewable energy technology to give you the confidence to choose the right system.