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
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
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 "SOUTHERN CROSS
Ian may be contacted by email here :Ian
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
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 (An
Illustrated History of Toowoomba
Foundry’s Steam, Internal-Combustion and Windmill Engines), by Rob
This book can be
purchased online by clicking on this link Blue Flyer Publications.
or the picture on the left.