Steam Museums

Australian Steam Museums

Obviously from reading the “History of Steam Power” you will gather that a very large part of the evolution process took place in England and particularly Cornwall at the start. Not a lot of innovation appears to have occurred in Australia. Unfortunately, although there was quite a lot of steam plant and equipment both fixed and mobile brought to Australia from England and other countries, we do not seem to have had the urge in Australia to preserve the little we did have that helped to build our country and power industry. The following is a far from complete list of steam museums and websites that will give a broad impression of the machinery that made the world in which we now live.

Railway Museums are quite numerous on the internet and so not many are listed below. Simply search “Preserved Steam Railway” or similar.

Cobdogla in South Australia near the border to Victoria. This museum holds a range of steam (stationary and railway) and Internal combustion engines.

Cambelltown Steam and Machinery Museum to the southwest of Sydney houses a collection of vintage steam and internal combustion agricultural and industrial engines as well as a 2ft gauge railway.

Goulbourn Water Works further southwest from Sydney has a beautiful beam engine driving the pump.

Melbourne Steam Traction Engine Club. Links to many interesting steam and other sites.

Sydney Powerhouse Museum holds the earliest of Boulton and Watts’ beam engines. Originally built in 1785 it worked in an English brewery for 102 years before it was replaced. Following it’s removal from the brewery, it was relocated to the Sydney museum.

Turon Technology Museum is located 3 hours from Sydney at Sofala. It holds a broad collection of vintage steam and internal combustion agricultural and industrial engines.

Ipswich Railway Museum is just west of Brisbane. Based on the railway workshops, the museum holds a number of working steam trains that are used for occasional special tours.

Thirlmere Steam Railway Museum is southwest of Sydney and has an extensive history of railway engines and rolling stock. Preservation of our Australian steam heritage is part of the Department of the Prime Minister/Office for the Arts/Movable Cultural Heritage/Agricultural and Industrial Heritage department. No wonder we lose our heritage!

English Steam Museums

Obviously from reading our “History of Steam Power” pages, you will gather that a very large part of the evolution process took place in England and Cornwall. Having that much history behind and around them, it was natural that they have taken up the restoration of steam equipment in a big way. The following is a far from complete list of steam museums and websites that will give a broad impression of the machinery that made the world in which we now live. Railway Museums are easy to find on the internet and so not many are listed below. Simply search for “Preserved Steam railway” or similar.

London Museum of Water and Steam (formerly Kew Bridge Steam Museum) situated in southwest London. A broad collection of engines from the very large Beam Engines to high speed vertical compounds and horizontal reciprocating pump engines.

Crossness – in southeast London. These engines were used for sewerage duty to help prevent further cholera outbreaks in London in the mid 1850’s. This museum houses four large rotative beam engines with ornate columns and capitals of varied designs, but the museum is also reknowned for the ornate ironwork in the building and interior.

Museum of Power – Langford (Maldon, Essex) holds a working triple expansion vertical steam engine “Lilleshall” as well as a collection of other steam memorabilia and a working overhead powered workshop.

Ryhope Engine Trust based in the Ryhope Pumping station near Sunderland on the east coast of England. The musuem holds a wide collection of steam engines and also a blacksmiths forge, a waterwheel and a replica plumbers workshop. This site includes a good list to other English museums.

Westonzoyland is situated in a small village in West Somerset. It centres on the main pump which was used for drainage of the flatlands for agriculture. It also houses a range of stationary steam engines and other drainage industry collectables.

Stretham Old Engine Trust in , England. Holds a range of small pumping engines and particularly the almost unknown Riches and Watt engines.

Ellenroad Ring Mill is a fully working Cotton Mill near Rochdale a few miles east of Liverpool. The main feature of the mill is the main driving engine – a 3000HP horizontal reciprocating engine. The museum also has a couple of other engines. The Site includes links to other museums and also other interesting steam sites.

Bolton Steam Museum, Brownlow Fold, Bolton, Lancashire. Houses a big collection of restored steam industrial stationary engines.

Dogdyke Steam Drainage Station is a small museum in Nottinghamshire with the original steam pump (rotative beam) from 1856, and the Ruston and Hornsby diesel which replaced it in 1940. There is also a Ruston and Hornsby diesel driving an air compressor wich is needed to start the main diesel pump. This site also has an extensive list of links to other steam museums.

York Steam Museum – Preserved and restored railway engines including steam engines. The major Railway Museum of England.

But wait – there’s more – now we leave it for you to find. When you find anything REALLY interesting or different, please let us know too so that we can let others know by listing here.

Other Countries

Cruquius Pumping Station is a drainage pump(s) situated in the Netherlands is an adaptation of the Cornish Engine. Built in 1846, this single but massive engine drives eight pumps, but as the task is drainage of the surrounding countryside there is only a low head as the water is raised just a few feet.

Another website giving a BIG list of English museums is http://www.geograph.org.uk/article/Beam-Engines-in-the-UK

Internet searches for “Steam Museums in Germany” (and then France for example) only yielded Steam Railway Museums in the first part of the list. Perhaps look a bit further?????