Late in 1997 we embarked on a winery crawl of the Mitchels Town region (by boat). We visited a heap of wineries and consumed some very nice wine - not to mention gathered a heap of it to bring home. At the Tabilk winery I avoided the lets go down the hole and look at giant barrels full of rotting grape juice which might just turn into something nice in about ten years, and went wandering and found this collection of engines hiding in a shed. Unfortunately the owners want to see them rot to nothing rather than be restored "that is our museum". I am always disappointed at this attitude, even if they have plans to restore the engines and (if we are lucky) operate them - their main business is wine, sooner or later these engines will fall by the wayside and be lost to history for ever. Update 2000 This year I received a letter from the winery. Seems this article has prompted them into a little action. They now have actual plans to build a small museum on site and to look after the machinery better. Seems it will be a static display, but that is much better than ignoring it all.
Robey Steam Portable
Outside I came across a stationary steam engine which I think is a Robey. The engine is in a very sorry state, the fire box is rusted out, and you can see daylight in the boiler when looking through the smoke box door. Sadly, this one will probably never steam again. The engine itself is not too bad, I think it might be restorable to run off air, or another source of steam if the winery were willing to try (they aren't).
|Inside there is a 1" scale rough model of the Robey. It is better looked after and in better condition than the original. It is a static model not capable of steaming.|
The stationary engines
Ruston Oil Engine
In a nearby shed is an engine which had no markings whatsoever, but I think it fits in with the general lines of a Robey or Ruston Oil Engine, I suspect the latter. I think the engine may have always run out of this shed. It is a large bore single cylinder. It has an unusual fly-wheel arrangement in that one wheel is spoked, and the other is solid with a multiple rope (or perhaps v-belt) drive from the solid pulley. The engine seems to have a mechanical lubricator fitted. It seems to be set up to run for long period unattended. The engine is in desperate need of some TLC, but it would probably run. I think (apart from the steamer) this is probably the oldest engine in the collection. I've only seen one engine of this type restored, it ran at low RPM (about 400), and only fired once every 20 or so RPM with no load - there was no ignition bang - more a chuff like a steam engine.
This single cylinder Lister is not in any of my books, I thought it might be a CS diesel until I got closer and saw that it had a carby and a bracket where a magneto was once installed. The engine is free but has no compression at all. Mounted on an original Lister truck (rare in Australia - most were made here) this engine could be restored with reasonable ease. The paint is original, and would only need a clean and a top clear coat. I'm guessing, but I think that this engine is from the 1920s. The engine seems to have something in common with both the Junior and the Model 3 - but is not quite like either of them. I'm sure someone can identify it and educate me! Thanks to Roland Craven for providing the identification below:For anyone who has been wondering? I believe the Lister engine is an L type of about 4 to 5 hp. It looks like the later type carb and the slightly smaller early crank. it also has the "Ricardo" detachable head. It probably dates to the mid 1920s +or - 5. Roland Craven
Furphey's Farm Water Cart
The Furphey's Farm Water Cart made by J.Furphey and Sons of Shepparton is one of the most common major items of farm equipment made in Australia. Although they are starting to become rare (at least intact) Furphey's made them to the same cast pattern from the last 1880s through to the late 1960s. The ends became so popular as bits of "junk" for fashionable homes to have leaning on a fence that cast aluminium versions started to appear in garden stores.