Flaming Galah

Owned by John Draper from Echunga, South Australia


Converted from Lightweight Sharpie sailing boat 19'6" x 4'6" hard chine ply, built by Barclay late 1960's.

Restored/rebuilt as steam launch 1993 onwards, launched Feb '99.


Converted from air-compressor 1992. Twin cyl 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" single acting, cranks 180 deg. Orig built with slide valve, rebuilt 2010 with long trunk guides (using orig pistons as x-heads), separate steam cyls and piston valve. Valve gear is based on Marshall/Hackworth using single eccentric. Displacement lubricator for cyl oiling, splash-lubricated (enclosed) crank.


Monotube steam generator built 2010 (to replace original unit which was converted from steam cleaner) consisting of 3 copper coils: 24ft x 5/16" economiser + 36ft x 3/8" to separator + 18ft x 5/16" steam dryer in stack. 

Feedwater by 3-ram Inter pump at 1/3 engine speed plus hand pump; manual bypass controls steam temp. 

Fired by air-atomising 'gun' burner converted to 12volts, using diesel fuel or kero. Burner control is by  12v fuel solenoid activated by thermostat on steam output, plus manual control. Burner fires into refractory-lined 'cyclone' firebox.



Currently using 14" x 23" 3-blade prop at engine speed. Prop shaft (1" dia) chain-driven from layshaft, via CV joint


Boat speed approx 6 knots at 120 psi.

Recent 'improvements' are a steam siren and an experimental 12V charging system using bicycle hub dynamo. A condensing system is to be installed in the near future, as range is currently limited by water capacity (approx 12 gals/ 60 litres).

John has a couple of videos of his boat on YouTube. Try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7y2MscyKQo for starters or search "Flaming Galah"


Click on these thumbnails for a larger view