The Oldest Australian Made Steam Engine - Sydney Circa 1845  
"The Steam Engine, then, we may justly look upon as the noblest machine ever invented by man-the pride of the machinist, the admiration of the observer"


Turon Technology Museum



Dear Web Site Visitor

Thank you for making contact.

We think that the Engineers and engineering behind the Industrial Revolution is a fascinating, interesting, sometimes funny and tragic subject.

We invite you to try our quiz which we have based upon these great Engineers and their achievements.

There are nine questions and nine correct answers. Even if you get an answer wrong - read on, as you will still gain information.

We apologise to overseas visitors that this quiz is Australian originated. It is an educational tool.

The museum has a policy of opening at any time, all we ask is that you let us know beforehand of your intended visit. Especially important for groups so that we can organise catering and have sufficient guides on hand for assistance in making your visit enjoyable.

Overseas visitors are especially welcome.

For location and contact details click here.





Most students & historians are familiar with the socio-political side of the Industrial Revolution while some are aware it was an age of great railway building, civil works & ship building.

There was however another side, because the industrial revolution was all about Engineers and their profession.

This quiz is to test your knowledge of the engineering which started the Industrial Revolution and the impact it still has upon our daily lives.

1. Who invented the steam engine?

A. Thomas Savery - Go to 27

B. Thomas Newcomen - Go to 23

C. James Watt - Go to 8

D. All of the above - Go to 33

2. Correct, the PS Surprise built at Millards ship yard, Neutral Bay, NSW in 1831, with a

10 hp engine and made her maiden voyage on 1 June 1831. The first steam

movement in the Southern Hemisphere. Later she went to Hobart under her own

power to become a ferry.

Now go to 29.


3. Sorry. Popular history suggests George Stephenson (1781-1848) is the father of

locomotion - his first locomotive was "Blucher" in 1814. He was the first President of

the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and he was the engineer for the Stockton to

Darlington Railway, 1822.

Return to 29.

4. What was James Watt's contribution to the steam engine?

A. The separate condenser - Go to 18

B. The crank - Go to 15

C. The governor - Go to 31

D. All the above - Go to 30


5. Sorry, Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) (George's son), built the "Rocket" for the

Rainhill Trials in 1829. He was a great railway engineer, civil engineer and bridge

builder. Return to 29.


6. Sorry, After 1842. Return to 24.


7. Why was the rotating steam engine so important?

A. It made better & cheaper beer, the analgesic of the masses - Go to 22

B. It could drive anything which turned - Go to 32

8. Partly, James Watt (Scotland) 1736-1819, over a long period developed the

condenser, air pump and sun & planet gears, which turned lineal motion into rotary


Return to 1.


9. Nearly, PS Sophia Jane arrived in Sydney in May 1831. A 50 hp (37 kw) engine

drove her at 13 kph. Not the first, her paddles came out as cargo. Engines of the

era were used as auxiliary engines. Sophia Jane's engines are believed to lie on the

seabed off Coffs Harbour.

Back to 26.

10. Spot on! Tamworth streets were first lit by electricity in 1888. The plant, in a local

museum, is available for inspection.

Good, now on to 24.

11. Why is the invention of the Bessemer Converter significant?

A. It made cast iron cheaper - Go to 28

B. It burnt carbon, etc, out of cast iron - Go to 20


12. That's right. The first steam engine was erected in Sydney in 1814 and opened by Governor

Lachlan Macquarie on 29 May 1815. Owned by John Dickinson of Scotland, it cost

10,000 pounds and was situated at the head of Cockle Bay, at the bottom of Goulburn

Street, now under the Darling Harbour reclamation. Within ten years it had put out of

business all the windmills on the ridge which ringed the CBD of Sydney.

Now on to 26.


13. Yes. (Sir) Charles Parsons. Produced the first turbine in 1883, doing the calculations

in his head as he did not understand calculus. Little success followed until he

provoked the Royal Navy in front of Queen Victoria (Spit Head Review 1897). Within

seven years the turbine drove SS Mauritania and captured the Blue Ribband, which

she held for 22 years (fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean).

Excellent - now on to 21.

14. Nearly, PS William the Fourth, launched on the William's River (Newcastle), October

1831 and sold to China in 1850s.

Back to 26.


15. Yes, but, the crank was part of the plan, it turns lineal motion into rotary motion - and

is a vital part of today's life. In 1780 the idea of the crank was stolen from James

Watt and given to a rival, James Pickard, who beat Watt to the patent office. Watt then invented the

Sun & Planet motion - the first case of industrial espionage.

Go to 4


16. Who invented the Turbine?

A. Frank Whittle - Go to 19

B. Charles Parsons - Go to 13

17. Correct - Richard Trevithick (1771-1833). The first locomotive ran on smooth rails in

1804, the first model locomotive in 1796. A replica of the engine can be seen at

Coalbrookdale Museum, Shropshire.

Spot on, you have completed the quiz! Now visit the Museum!


18. Yes, but the condenser turns steam back into water outside the engine and saved

heat loss from the cylinder, thought up after a discussion with Professor Joseph

Black, Glasgow University, who became his sponsor.

Go to 4.


19. Sorry. Frank Whittle bench tested the gas turbine (jet engine) in late 1937. The first

successful flight in England was in late 1939 and in Germany earlier the same year.

Back to 16.

20. True. The Bessemer Converter (Invented 1856) blasts hot air through the molten

metal burning off the carbon & silica, it is the most spectacular process in steel-

making. At this stage metals such as chromium or manganese may be added to

produce the vast range of special steels we know today.

Now on to 16.


21. Where was the first electric street light in Australia?

A. Sydney - Go to 25

B. Tamworth - Go to 10


22. It is true the first installation of a rotating engine was at Samuel Whitbread's Chiswell

Brewery in 1784, commissioned 22 July 1785, where it replaced 24 horses. It worked

for 102 years; at first single acting, in 1795 it was converted to double acting. It is the

beam engine in the Powerhouse Museum, but the engine is not important for this


Go to 7.

23. Partly. Thomas Newcomen (UK) 1663-1729, developed the atmospheric engine to a

high level and many exist in UK museums. It was while working on a model of the engine at Glasgow

University that James Watt realised the massive heat losses involved.

Try again, back to 1.


24. Where and when was the first steam engine in Australia erected?

A. Sydney - Go to 12

B. Melbourne - Go to 6


25. Sorry. Sydney street lighting was not installed until 1904. Prior to that street lighting

was by gas light - you may see examples at The Rocks, Sydney. The electrical power for street lights was

generated in what is now the Powerhouse Museum.

Back to 21.

26. What was the first steam ship in Australia?

A. PS Surprise - Go to 2

B. PS Sophia Jane - Go to 9

C. PS William the Fourth - Go to 14

(PS stands for paddle ship)


27. Partly. Thomas Savery (UK) 1650-1715, made a pumping engine in 1698 working on

the idea of Denis Papin (France). The engine was very slow and inefficient, being single acting, using steam

pressure to push the piston up - atmospheric pressure to push the piston down - hence the name

"atmospheric engine".

Go back to 1.


28. No. Cast iron is made in a blast furnace, the origins of which are lost in time. Cast

(pig) iron in its crude form contains carbon, silica & sulphur.

Back to 11

29. Who invented the locomotive?

A. Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) - Go to 17

B. George Stephenson (1781-1848) - Go to 3

C. Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) - Go to 5


30. Yes, correct, all these ideas were necessary to make a practical rotating engine, but

read 15, 18 & 31.

Now go to 7.



31. Yes, but, James Watt invented the governor in 1789 to control the revolutions of his

engine. The governor became known as the Watt fly-ball governor, other types are

Pickering & Hartnell.

Go to 4.

32. Correct. Lathes & boring machines were driven by water wheels, the largest only

developing 10 hp (7.5 kw), sometimes windmills were used, both were slow and

unreliable. The greater power of the steam engine enabled greater accuracy of the


Now go to 11


33. Correct, but read notes 8, 23 and 27. It is worth noting that the cylinders of the

Boulton Watt engines were bored on a cylinder boring lathe invented by John

Wilkinson for boring cannon barrels. The development of the engines took place

over 150 years and eventually lead to the start of the industrial revolution which

turned Great Britain into a Great Nation.

Go to 4.