Ruston Proctor Oil Engine

In the early 1990s, Bert Wicks was grading wheat on a local property when he saw an old Ruston Proctor engine. The owner said to Bert that if he knew anyone who wanted it, they could have it. Bert Wicks offered it to the Rotary club of Gunnedah West who collected it and stored it in the yard of club member, Noel Jaeger. In 1995 the engine was moved, on loan, to the Rural museum where it was hoped it could be restored to working order. In 1999 the engine was moved to Rotarian Graham Sanson’s premises, Sanson’s Spray Coatings. The Rotary club of Gunnedah West adopted the restoration of the engine as a year-2000 project.

 The engine had the following name plate: RUSTON, PROCTOR & CO LTD ZFPX No. 42965 LINCOLN – ENGLAND. Investigations by Graham Sanson found that the engine was a Hornsby-Akroyd vaporizing oil engine designed to run on kerosene and rated at 6HP. It had been shipped to the Australian agents, H.V. McKay, on 8 November 1911 with a purchase price of £120. Graham Sanson was able to purchase a set of manuals for the engine.

The original company was Proctor and Burton of Lincoln, England, established in 1840, operating as millwrights and engineers. They became Ruston, Proctor and Company (Ruston) in 1857 when Joseph Ruston joined them, acquiring limited liability status in 1899. On 11 September 1918, the company amalgamated with Richard Hornsby & Sons of Grantham to become Ruston and Hornsby Ltd (R&H). Hornsby was the world leader in heavy oil engines, having been building them since 1891, a full eight years before Rudolph Diesel's engine was produced commercially. Ruston and Hornsby built oil and diesel engines in sizes from a few HP up to large industrial engines.



The Rotary West engine was stripped down completely and rebuilt by Graham and Craig Sanson under the supervision and with the assistance of Tony Bowles. Parts were repaired or manufactured as required. Members of Rotary Club of Gunnedah West provided assistance where they could.






The restoration project was completed in 2007.


 In August 2007 the engine was demonstrated at the Eulah Creek Antique Machinery Field Day.

 In 2008 the Ruston Proctor engine was located, on loan, with the Gunnedah Rural museum for permanent display. In August 2013, the members of Rotary Club of Gunnedah West donated the engine to Gunnedah Rural Museum.

Following further restoration by the Gunnedah Rural Museum the engine was demonstrated at an open day on 15 September 2019. Watch the video