Jerrys Old Engines in South Africa

Southern Cross Engines in South Africa

The Australian Southern Cross Company had a factory in Bloemfontein producing Windmills and other agricultural equipment and in the 1950's decided to produce an engine as well.
    This was named the Southern Cross AC and was a copy of the Wolseley WD8. This engine was only produced in South Africa.
Here follows an excerpt from the book "Southern Cross Engines" written by Rob Laurent. This book can be purchased online from Blue Flyer Publications. The following information is published on this webpage with permission from Rob Laurent and is  Copyright to Rob Laurent. My thanks to him for allowing this to be reproduced.

"The South African Southern Cross Factory in Bloemfontein"
Tommy Griffiths, was put in charge of the South African branch in 1950. Tommy had started work at Toowoomba Foundry in 1941, age 18 and like his older brother, Bunty, had served in various departments of the business. He was a Dynamic individual who inherited his fathers flair for engineering. Soon after taking up his new role in South Africa he began advocating for the establishment of a foundry and machine shop in that country. The directors in Toowoomba agreed with this idea in 1952 but, after receiving Leslie Boyce's report on the state of affairs in South Africa, changed their minds, saying that the branch there needed to increase its trade first.

In 1954 it was decided to begin the manufacture of windmill engines in South Africa, with the castings being made by the Johannesburg firm, 'Light Castings'. All the machining would be done by Southern Cross in Bloemfrontein, at the company's factory in Nuffield St. (where the manufacture of windmill tower hade been going on since 1950) The patterns, tools and jigs for making the windmill engines were sent to South Africa from the foundry in Toowoomba. The Toowoomba works manger (Phil Chote) and a group of foundry workers traveled with the machinery and helped with its installation in the new Bloemfontein machine shop.

In 1955 the South Africa branch began selling Southern Cross windmills that were fully manufactured in that country. The diesel engines sold by this branch continued to come from Toowoomba.

Tommy Griffiths perceived that there was need for an inexpensive petrol or kerosene engine. As such engines were no longer being made in Toowoomba, Tommy decided to produce a copy of the Wolseley WLB 8 engine. All the castings were made by Light Castings, the foundry that produced the windmill castings, and all the machining was performed by Southern Cross in Bloemfontein.
The engine which was almost indistinguishable from a Wolseley, was named the Southern Cross Mark AC. Production of these engines continued into the late 1960s.
A branch office of the South Africa was opened at Johannesburg in 1950. This was expanded to a depot in 1954. Other branches were opened at Pot Elizabeth and Cape Town in 1945-55
"The above is an an extract from the book Southern Cross Engines by Rob Laurent and is reproduced here with his permission and is Copyright to Rob Laurent "


Do you own a Southern Cross engine?
This could be a South African manufactured model AC or any of the others that were made in Australia. If so please take the time to register it with Ian Matthews of Thuringowa City   North Queensland Australia.  He operates the  "
 Ian may be contacted by email here :
Ian Matthews

A Word Document showing  what details are required may be downloaded by clicking here. Right click on the link to save the document to your disc, fill it out and attach it to an eMail to Ian Matthews.

You can download a copy of the SC Engine Register (12th June 2007) here: Download Register.
This document is updated regularly so if the date above is older than a month then eMail Ian Matthews and ask him for the latest version

Engine registers are very useful to collectors and assist in dating engines and also as a means of contacting other owners of similar machines.

Ian can also assist with dating most SC engines made in Australia. Unfortunately he has no information on South African manufacturing dates but by adding yours to the register this information may one day be available.
He also has manuals for most Southern Cross engines.

You can download the manual for the Southern Cross Farm Pumper(SC MkJ Pump Engine.pdf)(2.2Mbytes) from my download page here: Manual Downloads

You can also download an Operators manual and parts list for the South African manufactured Southern Cross AC engine from the same page. This manual was kindly supplied by Ian Matthews.

Southern Cross Engines by Rob Laurent
Southern Cross Engines  (An Illustrated History of Toowoomba Foundry’s Steam, Internal-Combustion and Windmill Engines), by Rob Laurent

This book can be purchased online by clicking on this link Blue Flyer Publications.  or the picture on the left.

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