Full steam ahead for old engine

If it wasn’t for the dedication of enthusiastic Melbourne volunteers, this beautiful old DEUTZ engine was probably bound for the scrapheap.

The four-cylinder vertical two-stroke diesel engine, which is starring in a social media campaign to find Australia’s oldest DEUTZ engine, was made in Germany in 1928 and rated at 100 horsepower.

It was used as a standby power supply at the former State Theatre in Melbourne.

The Model PMV230 was originally coupled to a DC generator, which was later changed to an alternator. A similar version operated in Sydney.

In 1990, the redundant State Theatre engine was donated to the Melbourne Steam Traction Engine Club, whose members arranged for it to be dismantled and transported to the club’s National Steam Centre in Scoresby.

DEUTZ Australia CEO Craig Chamberlin says the engine is a wonderful example of diesel technology that would have been state-of-the-art at the time. He says the social media campaign aims to find out if it is Australia’s oldest surviving DEUTZ engine.

“Preserving our industrial history is really important and it’s great to see dedicated volunteers looking after this classic engine,” he says. “We’re also keen to find out if there are others like it.”

The Melbourne Steam Traction Engine Club is a hive of activity as volunteers tend to its many vintage steam and diesel engines, industrial machines and miniature railway.

Club president Philip Randall says moving the DEUTZ engine was a bit of a saga. “It was dismantled at the State Theatre and reassembled here in Scoresby,” he says. “It was in the basement of the theatre, and it had to be removed quickly.

“The theatre was built around the engine. Our people had to go in there and pull it completely apart and bring the parts out of the basement in wheelbarrows and trolleys and load it into trailers and bring it back here and reassemble it.”

The engine needs repairs by volunteers to the crank shaft and big end bearings to make it work. If anyone can assist, Philip is keen to hear from you!

And make sure you contact us if you know of another classic DEUTZ engine…

As well as its annual Steamfest, the National Steam Centre is open each Saturday and Sunday from 11am-4pm (except Christmas-New Year), it runs miniature steam train rides on Sundays, and has operational displays on the last Sunday of the month.