Dale Smith creates incredibly detailed, perfect miniature-sized replicas of many of the items you find on a farm.
Story and Photos Ricky French
You can’t do that,” isn’t a phrase Dale Smith has in his vocabulary. He’s had it said to him many times though, when people walk into his Barcaldine shed and take one look at the impossibly small cogs he’s machined and fitted inside a miniature, working replica beam engine.
But Dale can do that, and he’s been doing it since he first took up model making in 1996. His stunningly accurate replicas of the engines, carriages, windmills, wagons and water tanks that once coloured the Queensland countryside are more than technical masterpieces; they are objects of beauty. The astounding contents of Dale’s shed are unknown even to most of Barcaldine, the central western Queensland town where he’s lived since he was six.
His father knew all there was to know about windmills and passed on the passion to Dale. Seeing the mechanical parts and how they went together to create an efficient, working machine sparked a love for machinery and allowed Dale to find the wonder in contraptions most people take for granted.
His tools are a milling machine, a lathe and an exquisite eye for detail. “I just love making stuff,” Dale says. “I just see things in the real world and say to myself, ‘I wouldn’t mind making that’. I feel a real sense of achievement when it’s finished."
This story excerpt is from Issue #123
Outback Magazine: February/March 2019