Inside the Collection

National Historical Machinery Rally, Mudgee 2013

Photograph of Early Daimler petrol engine
Powerhouse Museum Collection, object B1067. Gift of the University of Sydney, 1947.

Mudgee is the place to be from 19th to 21st April. Historic engines and tractors will be there in force, but there will be a lot more to interest visitors, from Clydesdale horses to old-style games for children. Powerhouse Museum curators have selected a group of highly significant objects to take to the event, including this early Daimler high-speed petrol engine, four early gas engines, specimens of fine wool grown in the Mudgee area, a rare woollen convict jacket and an amazing fine-wool jumper knitted by Mudgee’s own Myra Mogg in 1935.

The gas engines tell the story of early innovations in internal combustion, from the free-piston Otto-Langen to the non-compression Bisschop, to an early Crossley four-stroke and a rare Fawcett two-stroke. As a very early example of the first commercially successful internal combustion engine, our Otto-Langen is expected to attract a good deal of interest. The Daimler, probably made between 1897 and 1900 as a stationary or launch engine, is similar to the early car engines designed by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, the men whose careful but explosive experiments led to petrol becoming the standard fuel for cars.

Our wool, which will be displayed alongside the engines, tells equally interesting stories. Specimens grown in the Mudgee area between 1880 and 1904 and in the 1990s will be complemented by specimens of wool from progenitors of the fine-wool Mudgee sheep and drawings of sheep created by Gordon Andrews for Australia’s first $2 banknote.

Whereas the particoloured black and yellow convict jacket that will be on show is one of the most popular objects in our online catalogue, Myra Mogg’s fame as a prize-winning knitter was more modest and local. It’s very appropriate that we will display one of her outfits, a striking jumper and matching wool-covered shoes, and two pairs of her very fine gauge needles, at this major event in her home town. Myra was an expert multi-tasker, often knitting as she walked the seven miles into Mudgee, and back, while the wealthy squatters whizzed past in their cars. Perhaps she should have written a self-help book called Knitting your way to fame and fitness.

Written by Debbie Rudder, Curator.

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