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:    

HP Total
3 190
3.5 30
4 208
4.5 13
5 148
5.5 39
6 232
6.5 30
7 62
7.5 14
8 123
8.5 27
9 8
9.5 1
10 15
11 87
12 3
15 3
16 23
20 20
25 2
26 1
32 1
? 97
Grand Total 1377

Totals by locality April 2015

ACT 13
England 1
Ireland 1
NSW 314
NT 2
NZ 3
QLD 85
SA 67
TAS 15
UK 5


WA 21

Totals by Year April 2015

1905 1
1906 4
1907 4
1908 11
1909 31
1910 31
1911 49
1912 43
1913 40
1914 25
1915 28
1916 45
1917 55
1918 50
1919 81
1920 123
1921 111
1922 107
1923 118
1924 59
1925 121
1926 50
1927 54
1928 40
1929 34
1930 12
1931 3
1932 6
1933 8
1934 9
1935 11
1936 7
1937 2
1939 1
1940 2
1941 1
Grand Total 1377




Austral Register Form

Austral engines on the register Updated June 2016

R-T Engine Numbers 1911-1970

NSW & QLD Shipping records totals

QMC Pictures NEW

Various Factory Engine PicturesUpdated February 2013

From Furnace to the Farm

Austral Gallery

Ronaldson-Tippett Centenary Rally

Inside the Ronaldson-Tippett Factory

Some catalogue views of Austral Engines

Some images from the 1929 R-T Price List

Exploded Parts Views NEW

For Sale Swap etc

Austral Ads

My Austral

Austral Parts





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