David Shearer and his family ride in the steam carriage constructed by Shearer, c. 1898. The Shearer steam carriage is significant because it is one of the oldest surviving Australian-built vehicles. It also demonstrates the type of experimentation with fuel other than petrol occurring in the early days of motoring. Shown here in use.
Carriage or wagon style body, featuring rack and pinion steering. Originally employing a tiller, it was later replaced by a more conventional steering wheel. The vehicle features a vertical twin-cylinder engine, powered by a Yarrow marine-type boiler. It can seat up to eight people and travelled at 10-15 mph (16-24 kph).
The preferred type of fuel for the boiler was mallee stumps, conveniently found in abundance in the landscape. Water was also required to create the steam needed to run it, and so it was important that this was available on every trip. This vehicle had to have two people to drive it - the engineer who kept the boiler going and the driver who operated the controls.