138 Tallebudgera Drive Palm Beach, Queensland, Australia
The Fire-Proof Champion traction engine was made by the Waterous
Engine Works, Bramford, Canada, but the year of manufacture is
unknown. Maybe, somebody can help?
Details of the boiler It is an upright boiler, 4 feet in
diameter and 7 feet high. It has 99 cross water tubes in it, plus
four heavy stays, which are tubes also.
The vertical boiler has a dome shaped water cooled spark
arrestor on it this is how it got its name ‘fireproof.’
This spark arrestor invention was patented and never ever sold to
anybody else. Every tube was tested after being expanded.
The engine has a 9′ diameter cylinder, 10′ stroke;
semi-rotary valving reversing is carried out by stopping the
engine, then loosening two bolts and sliding it in the opposite
The machine is spring mounted with two only 1′ round, 4′
diameter, 5′ long coil springs. It also had two seats, one for
the driver and the other for the off-sider. The off-sider attends
to the fire, water, greasing, keeping the wood-box full and keeping
the steam up to working pressure of 70 lbs.
It was found 100 miles, northwest of Bourke in Central
Australia. It had a rusted-out boiler and no brass whatsoever; the
con-rod was missing; it had the wrong flywheel and no throttle
control, governor, seat or differential. It had no chains or
sprockets or steering. All these had to be made, including the
inside and the outside of the bottom half of the boiler. The tube
plates also had to be repaired. Number stamped on boiler, also
back-axle is 1328. Restoration took approximately two years and
since restoration, it has been on four rallies.
I would like to thank the Inverell Museum for the loan of the
spark arrestor and the seat, so that I could copy them. They have a
portable Champion. My grateful thanks also to Geoff Swilks for
doing the castings for me, and to the Rose family, the Glassick
family and Jim Whightman for their assistance in rivetting.
The American Encyclopedia does not have a cross tube boiler in
it, only upright. It was an invaluable source of information for
me, as without it, I would not have known what the original
Champion looked like or how I was to proceed.