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8nhp Marshall portable 47566 of 1907

Historical Photo
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Status: Operational

This 8nhp (nominal horse-power) portable steam engine was ordered by Marshall agents Robison Brothers of South Melbourne on 18 April 1907 and arrived in Australia on 22 August 1907 on the SS Moravian at a landed cost of £273 7s 0d.  On 16 September it was sold to C. L. Bottcher of Barham, NSW, for $302 10s 0d, being a 10% profit to Robison Brothers.

This type of engine was particularly suited to bush sawmills.  The engine was large enough to run a small mill, easy to maintain, easy to shift, and required no heavy foundations or brickwork for its installation.  This was important in an era where most mills were shifted to a fresh patch of bush every few years.  An 8nhp engine could run a small “spot mill” with a single bench.  Larger mills with separate benches for “breaking-down” and “ripping” the timber could process twice the volume of timber per day, but required double the power.  The Forests Commission of Victoria would not normally issue a licence for a mill of less than 16nhp. Most sawmill engines were therefore of 16nhp and had two cylinders, although many smaller mills on private property and firewood mills continued to operate with a single cylinder engine.

Another two of this type of portable steam engine are on display at the ATT in un-restored condition.