Recently Rob Laurent released his latest book from Blue Flyer Publishing, Southern Cross Engines An Illustrated History of Toowoomba Foundry's Steam, Internal Combustion and Windmill Engines.
Being in touch with Rob from time to time, and being interested in Southern Cross (mainly because I own and will restore a PB fig. 1081 4hp kerosene engine) I decided to buy a copy. Southern Cross information has traditionally been scarce. The company had an amazing and diverse history. Based in engineering, the company got into agriculture, industrial, irrigation, aviation, railways, marine and many other adventures. Following the traditional Australian model they would send employees overseas to work in foundries around the world to learn new skills and methods and more importantly "borrow" successful designs to make them in the land of the no patent rights Australia!
Rob has done an amazing job of researching the company, interviewing hundreds of employees past and present, sifting what records are available, interviewing collectors and restorers. I cannot recommend this book more highly - I have to admit company history is a dry subject, but Rob has made it actually interesting. For each engine model there is vital technical information (invaluable to the restorer and operator alike). There are hundreds of photos of engines both in their current show status and as they were (and indeed still are in many cases) used. Rob has also reproduced the serial number records which will allow people to reliably date their machines.
At about AU$50 this book is just amazing value.
Chapter ListChapter 1: Steam Engines 1876-1917
Chapter 2: Early Internal Combustion engines 1910-1926
Chapter 3: The Engine Makers - up until 1926
Chapter 4: The Large P-Type and Small P-Type Kerosene Engines: 1926-1944; The Farm Pump 1927-1959
Chapter 5: The Y-Type Diesels 1933-1938, The Y Series and Improved Y Series Diesels 1938-1954, The A Series Petrol Engines 1939-1952
Chapter 6: The B Series Diesels 1944-1955, The G Series Diesels 1954-1961
Chapter 7: The First Air Cooled Diesels - ET Series and derivatives 1951-1960
Chapter 8: Petrol Engines and Mowers 1958-1973
Chapter 9: The End of the Line - EF and ED Series Diesels 1959-1983
Chapter 10: Windmills engines 1876-1983
Epilogue: The Toowoomba Foundry and Southern Cross Today
Appendix I: Other Southern Cross Products
Appendix II: Engine Production: Dates and Serial Numbers
Thanks for all your hard work Rob - an amazing effort. I look forward to your next work!