The Tin Dredger

13 10 2008

Upon reaching Batu Gajah we found a cool dark eatery where we decided to have lunch. Afiq, Alvin, Roger and Tzy Wen ordered their meals but I was too hot to eat anything. Instead I just concentrated on rehydrating myself with tea and 2 cans of 100PLUS. I cannot comment on the food as I did not have anything to eat but this town does feature in the Malaysia’s rich food culture. If it’s food you are looking for then I suggest you head a few kilometres northward to the city of Ipoh.

Although lunch was over in a short time, I suggested we rest a little while. Besides it was still very hot outside.  We left at around 2 p.m and filled the car up with petrol before heading to our next and final destination for the day guided by the GPS navigation in my Nokia 5500 Sport.

I shall write more about my GPS experience at a later date but it does come it did very well guiding us out of the town of Batu Gajah and onto the road south to our next destination. About 10 kilometres south of Batu Gajah almost next to the small town of Chendrong is a machine that is seldom ever seen anymore.

The Dredge

The Dredge

Tin mines and the tin dredge used to feature prominently in the landscape of Perak and Selangor. In fact when I was growing up there used to be a tin dredge in one of the many mining pools in what is now Kelana Jaya. In fact  my late father once took me into an operational dredger when one of them featured a tour of their facility. Little did I know that they would soon disappear into the pages of history with only this one standing in a small backwater town in Perak.

The picture does not do it justice. it really is a behemoth weighing in at around 4500 tons and about 400 feet in length. You can see form the picture above that I had problems trying to frame my picture so that I could get the whole dredge in it. I don’t think any of the others got it all in either. I’ll have to wait till I process my the film in my nikon FE.

For those unfamiliar with the workings of a tin dredger, it is really floating factory of sorts. Yes these monstrous machines actually floated on mining pools. This particular one sits in a small pool but I suspect it is not floating anymore. Tin Dredgers moved around by pulling themselves along a steel cable tethered across the breadth of the mining pool. So you can imagine this thing moving from one side of the pool to the other dredging up the bottom for tin ore. Every once in a while the steel cables would be advanced a few metres so the dredge could mine on the next stretch of the pool. If you want to see what one of these is capable of doing, just go down to Sunway Lagoon. That amusement park is built in what is a drained out ex mining pool!

There were lots of things to photograph inside the tin dredger. I managed to climb up to where the giant buckets deliver their load of tin ore and earth high up in the dredger. You really have to watch your step as the walkways are rusty and there are many places where a misstep could lead to a nasty fall. And as you can see in the last picture taken from quite high up, the dredger is actually listing to one side.

Buckets

Buckets

wheels

wheels

This way please

This way please

If not for the fact I was tired and dehydrated I could have spent a few more hours at both our destinations today.

My advice to those who wish to attempt the Kellie’s Castle and the Dredge in a day, arrive as early as possible at the Castle, finish off at 11 a.m and drive to Ipoh for some good food and relaxation before driving to the Dredger around 3 p.m. That way you’ll have a chance of great lighting (as opposed to the harsh midday sun) and not risk severe dehydration like we did. Oh, there are two types of tickets for the Tin Dredge. The RM10 ticket will allow you around the moat and only the ground floor of the dredge whilst the RM15 one will allow you to climb to all the nooks and crannies of this metal beast. Be prepared to question why you should be charged an extra RM5 to bring in a DSLR. We got away with it after a little persuasion.

Finally my these are atttempts at Black and White conversion of the pictures I took with my digital camera.

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3 responses

15 10 2008
nenebubuchacha

love the wheels

19 10 2008
tzywen

I was looking for that “buckets” shot haha

21 10 2008
densemy

Did you know that the government gave an huge amount of money to restore that dredge and that the project was never completed cos it ran out of money… Wonder where the money went??

In the light of that the entry fees you quoted are obscene

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