"Gula Java" is a 10 DVD set containing over 8 hours of viewing which is intended for the specialist enthusiast.
Covering nearly 30 sugar mills and hundreds of stationary engines, together with associated equipment it is a unique record of operations which would have been almost totally familiar to cane sugar technologists 70 years ago.
Between 2004 and 2006, Rob and Yuehong Dickinson made several extended journeys to Java to film these sugar mills at work, particularly their stationary steam engines. Some mills have a higher proportion of traditional equipment and this is reflected in the varying length of record for each mill, varying from a couple of minutes to almost a full hour for Gondang Baru (pictured). A preview version was described as 'stunning' by the Chairman of the International Stationary Steam Engine Society.
Rob's in-depth knowledge of the Java sugar mills and their railway systems is second to none and his love of the island and its people shows through clearly in his work.
This collection celebrates the continued active existence of the historic sugar mills of Java. Mainly kitted-out in the 1920s and 1930s, with the then state of the art equipment, their operation is a tribute both to the companies that built them and the engineers who maintain them today.
If you are a stationary steam engine enthusiast and thought that the only place to see them working was in a museum, then this DVD set with hundreds of active engines seen working will be a complete revelation. It should inspire greater interest around the world and spark attempts to conserve this industrial heritage for the future.