GETTING TO KNOW US
Booleroo Centre is in the Mid North of South Australia, adjacent to the Southern Flinders Ranges approximately 80km from both Port Augusta and Port Pirie and 260km north of Adelaide. It is 13km off the Main North Road leaving it at Murray Town and Melrose.
The aim of the Booleroo Steam and Traction Preservation Society is: “To foster the restoration and preservation of antique steam engines, vehicles, farm tractors and implements which show the technical developments and skills of an era now past”. Whatever your interest in agricultural-based machines, many can be found at Booleroo Centre, 260 kms north of Adelaide.
The BSTPS was formed by a group of local farmers in 1968. Since then the society has acquired an enviable collection of tractors, steam exhibits, stationary engines and equipment associated with our rural industrial and agricultural heritage.
The annual rally is where members of the society get to share their knowledge and showcase the fabulous machines that form an integral part of our Australian heritage. The working display of priceless machines allows the public to see machines perform the work they were originally built to do. The most unusual and unique display is dam sinking or scooping, using two 1880s, 26-ton Fowler steam ploughing engines, one at each end of ‘the dam’ site, with the scoop being hauled from one end to the other in turn by wire rope and winch. The highlight of the Rally day is the Grand Parade, just as at any other agricultural function, only here the oval is full of machines, not livestock.
Not everything on show is huge, noisy or mobile and ‘manned’ by blokes in overalls; smaller items from earlier days are also displayed. Stationary engines range in size from small two-and-a-quarter horse power units, ideal for farm work, a 125 hp Blackstone oil engine, up to the massive 375 hp Mirlees ‘gen set’ which was originally used for power generation in the Snowy Mountains Scheme in the 1950s. Of special interest is a Benz 125 hp model, believed to be out of a WWI (1914-1918) German U-boat, or submarine.
Other displays include bottles, vehicle number plates, sack trucks, bag loaders, buggy steps, plough and cultivator shares, ships tanks lids, foundry items and vintage tools. There is an assortment of larger agricultural equipment – harvesters and winnowers, ploughs and windmills and a comprehensive booklet listing the exhibits. The museum display is ideal for school groups to learn more of the heritage and history of mechanisation, especially on the farm and in the paddock
The society is also custodian of Booleroo Centre and district archival material and the entrance foyer has been developed to give visitors a ‘feel’ for the past through interpretive signage. Whilst the collection is accessible to the public on rally days, visits can also be arranged by appointment.