The Humphrey pumps

The Humphrey pumps supplied irrigation water, mainly to the areas around Barmera, Loveday and Cobdogla, for nearly 40 years from 1927 until 1965. These historical wonders are part of the Cobdogla Irrigation and Steam Museum in the Riverland.

The largest single cylinder engine in the world, the Cobdogla Humphrey pumps were manufactured in 1920 in Scotland and installed in Cobdogla between 1923 and 1925. They were the only two of their kind installed in the southern hemisphere.

The pumps ran on gas produced by a wood-fuelled plant, the most efficient use of available fuel at the time, and are part of our long history of innovation to enable economic growth in South Australia.

You can read more about the Cobdogla Irrigation and Steam Museum on their website, and resources about the pumps, including a DVD explaining their operation, are available from our library (through inter-library loans via your local public library).