Gas Engine Magazine

Australian Pen Pals

By Staff

6910 Argyle Road Caledonia, Illinois 61011

I have been a subscriber of GEM for several years, and enjoy it
very much. My wife and I have a building 170 feet x 60 feet full of
horse machinery, 40 old tractors including a model L Emerson
Brantingham 12-20 HP, 380-plus cast iron seats, we enjoy collecting
very much.

We have had several groups here to visit with us, we had 40
Australian farmers here last August and never had such an enjoyable
day.

We have talked back and forth with one couple (Jim and Vic
Hauser) several times. They sent us a letter and pictures of their
collection. They asked to have them sent to the magazine. Excerpts
from the letter follows:

‘Hi, Warren and Helen!

‘We realize that there aren’t many English engines in
America, because you had your own. As one guy told me, the English
engines were too big, too heavy, too sophisticated, but we have
English ties and Vic just loves the blowlamp start engine.

‘Perhaps Americans would be interested to know about our
private museum, too! It features a Marshall portable steam engine,
8 HP, that came from the outback of Australia. Once again, a trip
in the Volvo semi plus, 40 foot loader, some sections of the road
were so corrugated that we only average 25 m.p.h. It took Vic 18
months to restore and it runs on compressed air in the museum so
that people can marvel at the wonder of steam.

‘We love our 1928 ‘Flying Four’ Dodge. It’s such
a pretty blue, we have been thousands of miles in her and people
rave and talk to us when we fill up at a garagewe feel like
‘royalty’ waving to the public.

‘We have motorbikes, AJS 1924, Velocette and side car 1939,
BSA 500 cc 1940-45 still in its Army crate when Vic got it at 16
years. Of course we have a ‘few’ cast iron seats, a special
addition came from ‘Illinois’ USA. The friendliest people
in the world and we happily returned ‘Aussies’ seats. We
have dolls, clothing, blacksmith tools, bottles, signs, machinery
and about 50 stationary engines, EVEN American! Lots of
memorabilia.

‘Do come and visit us next time you are in
Australia.’

‘Hooray. At last I have a full collection of
‘Blackstone’ stationary oil engines. My ambition is
fulfilled! I do believe this to be quite unique anywhere in the
world and, I am the proud owner of a 2 HP, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12,
14, 17, 20 and 26 HP.

‘After 18 years of hunting and seeking, these wonderful
engines are all housed in my workshop shed and what a magnificent
site to see them all in line, painted to their former glory.

‘To accumulate this collection, my wife Jill and I have
traveled thousands of miles throughout Australia in our F100
utility and the farm Volvo semitrailer J 40 foot low loader. Must
admit Jill missed a gear or two when she took her turn behind the
wheel. We have been fortunate to meet so many friends. People who
willingly helped load their rusting relics, most times taking hours
longer that expected, but we always came home smiling.

‘Our longest trip, 2,500 miles from Port Neill, South
Australia, to Goondiwindi, Queensland. They saw us loading a 10 HP
on the banks of the Macintyre River. It was quite evident that it
had been under flood waters during its lifetime. We holiday yearly
in this area, as our daughter and family live on a sheep, cattle
and grain property in this vicinity. She also keeps her nose to the
ground, hence we have collected a few steam and oil engines for our
private museum.

‘Back in 1986 we rescued several Blackstones from Arcoona
Station, South Australia. This vast property of 1,000,000 acres is
owned by the Kidman Company, formerly Sir Sidney Kidman, the
notorious cattle king of Australia. The Woomera Rocket Range and
Narrunga tracking Station are also situated here. The engines we
were fortunate and grateful to be given are 4, 6, 12, and 26 HP
from outlying pumping stations all originally working on bores that
supplied water to the 25,000 sheep this property can run in good
years. The average rainfall is only 6 inches and unfortunately only
2 had fallen. So we had kangaroos and emus bounding alongside our
vehicles competing for the salt and blue bush vegetation. The 26 HP
was used by the South Australian Railways to pump water from a
large storage dam to fill the Ghan steam train on journey from
Adelaide to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, starting up in
1917.

‘Perhaps my most treasured Blackstone is the 2 HP. I have
had enthusiasts throughout Australia on the lookout for a long
time, only to have the elusive Two delivered to my backdoor by a
big hearted, fellow engine enthusiast friend from Sydney. We placed
this engine on a space that had been reserved for many years and
naturally enough opened a bottle of champagne!

‘As you can well guess, the old blowlamp start Blackstone is
indeed my favorite engine!’

  • Published on Aug 1, 1997
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