THE AUSTRAL REGISTER
A Brief History of R&T's "Austral Oil Engines
1904-1908. R&T and the "First 300" period. According to R-T advertising, three
hundred "Austral" hot bulb,vapourising oil engines in vertical and horizontal cylinders, and of a very simple design,
were built. The exhaust valve only was push rod operated, the inlet valve being atmospheric and
the governor belt driven from the crankshaft. Being of a simple design was their downfall. A few
of the horizontal engines were rebuilt as sideshaft engines post 1908. As the first engine built was No.51 and the first sideshaft engine was No.217 there never were 300 of the pushrod engines sold.
1908. Was to see the introduction of the "Austral" horizontal cylinder and sideshaft, vapourising
oil engine in portable and stationary form. Its success was to continue into the 1930s due to:
1. R&T incorporating the principles of the Carter Bros of England patents, already in use
by Blackstone of England in their vapourising oil engines. The principles being:
A: An expansion type governor mounted an the end of the sideshaft. A projecting cam
regulated the RPM by controlling the vapour valve (admits fuel to the vapouriser). Overspeed
caused the cam to collapse, resulting in the non opening of the vapour valve.
B: A horizontal vapouriser of the closed type containing vapour valve, internal igniter
(coiled metal strip) and the timing valve which regulated the point of ignition and isolated the hot
vapouriser from the cold air when under compression. Ignition occurred when the timing valve
opened, allowing the air under compression to mix with the fuel vapour, resulting in a combustible
charge being formed and ignited by the incandescent coiled metal strip (igniter), the igniter being
kept incandescent from previous ignitions.
2. A high standard of engineering resulting in reliability and long life.
3. A genuine, long term after sales service.
Note: The sideshaft Australs are NOT hot bulb engines.
Their vapouriser is a closed horizontal type in the style of a box. The kerosene is admitted by the
vapour valve into the hot vapouriser, the resulting vapour then mixed with fresh air admitted
when the timing valve is opened forming a combustible charge. On the lamp start engines the
initial start is gained from a hot spot, created by the lamp whilst it is heating the vapouriser, on a
hollow tube like chamber, being part of the underside of the vapouriser casting, the two separate
chambers being connected by a small hole. First ignition, and the next few to follow, occurs when
a part of the charge is forced through the hole from the vapouriser into the bottom casting with its
hot spot. Not long after, ignition comes from the igniter now kept incandescent by the heat
created from the ignition of the vapourised fuel. Magneto start engines vapourisers differ, with an
extra chamber for the hot exhaust gases to circulate around the vapouriser on their way out to the
exhaust pipe. The spark plug provides ignition with the petrol vapour admitted until the
vapouriser is hot enough to allow the engine to change over to kerosene. Ignition by the igniter
follows, providing the igniter is incandescent. The ONLY hot bulb engines built by R&T were
engines from "The First 300", the bulb first being heated by lamp, the entering fuel then being
vapourised within the bulb, then along with the admitted air formed a combustible mixture,
resulting in ignition by the hot wall of the bulb. In most cases, the lamp had to remain under the
hot bulb at all times.
This history written by Peter J. Wilcock, (former) keeper of the Austral Register
As of June 2007 I have taken over the Austral Register. I hope to continue the great work that Peter has done over the years.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions and especially if you have engines to be added to the register or any information that can help with expanding the knowledge of these great engines and the company that made them.
If you have an Austral please download the form, fill it in and return it to me. Any information is a big help & I will supply whatever information I can on your engine. The form is also available as a pdf. If you wish to email me click on my name at the bottom of the page (it is hidden in a script to stop spammers).
Patrick M Livingstone (June 2007)
As of April 2015 the totals on the register by horsepower are:
Totals by locality April 2015
Totals by Year April 2015
R-T Engine Numbers 1911-1970
NSW & QLD Shipping records totals
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