Martindale's Engine - A Salvage Success

Like much of Martindale’s restoration, this is a story of fate. Michael York one of Martindale’s trustees recounts:

My next step was to let it be known around Sydney that we needed a six or an eight cylinder Gardner engine with a gearbox. A short time later fate came to our assistance when Sean Langman phoned me and said I have just salvaged a boat called Blue Moon, a 100 ft charter boat with two eight cylinder Gardner engines which had been under water for three months. Would you like the engines? I immediately phoned Chris Stannard and he sent down a truck with a high ab crane to pick up the engines and deliver them to the Sydney Heritage Fleet workshop in Rozelle Bay.

Engine Install

I had no idea what I was going to do with these newly acquired engines but I knew they had to be pulled down within a week before corrosion set in. Fate played another card as it happened that Stewart Ross had just arrived as a volunteer at the Sydney Heritage Fleet and among other things he is a first class diesel mechanic. We built a team of five - Terry Stephens, David Morcom, George Von Martin, Stewart Ross and myself and within a week we had the two engines stripped down.

There was a great deal of cleaning and painting of the parts of both engines. The gudgeon pins had to be pushed out of the pistons with the hydraulic press as they were becoming corroded in. The piston rings were all corroded in but were able to be freed up. The aluminium pistons were in good condition. In fact all the internal parts were put back into the rebuild. The only purchase we needed to make was a few “O” rings. The thin aluminium air intakes were re made by Hillary Hansen.

Engine Install

Blue Moon, built in 1975 at Innisfail Queensland as the Whitsunday Wanderer, was the largest timber boat ever built in Australia. She spent 10 years carrying passengers around the Whitsunday Islands before transferring to Sydney to be used for charters. She sank in Berry’s Bay on 27 February 2010.

The restored engine was successfully commissioned in November 2011 in the Sydney Heritage Fleet workshop and was installed on Martindale in early 2012. To install the engine, the funnel, engine room hatch and engine room/galley bulkhead were removed. With regular maintenance we expect the engine and gearbox to last many more years.


Martindale Trustees wish to thank all those involved in the restoration of our Gardner 8L3B