Whale Chaser Cheynes III Steam Driven Steering Quadrant

Collection Highlights | Updated 6 years ago

A steam engine on public display
Whale Chaser Cheynes III Steam Driven Steering Quadrant - donated by Albany Whale World courtesy of John Bell
Image copyright of WA Museum

The whale chaser Cheynes III pursued its last whale in 1978 and the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company was wound up 1979. It was the last whaling company operating in Australia. The Cheynes III was a Thor Class Whale Chaser built in England.

The triple expansion steam main engine was removed from the Cheynes III in 1982 for display at Whale World in Albany, Western Australia. The steering engine was also removed and donated to the Maritime Museum. Cheynes III was then sunk, with forty kilograms of detonated dynamite, as a recreational dive site near Albany.

This steering engine was purpose built around 1947. Steering engines like this one are fitted with three valves, a central control valve and two piston or slide valves, one for each cylinder of the engine. The control valve distributes steam to the piston valves so that the gear may run either to the port or starboard as required. Thus each piston or slide valve requires only one eccentric with the control valve acting as the reversing lever. The piston valves have no steam or exhaust lead so steam is carried for the full length of the stroke ensuring the engine will start under full load, irrespective of the position of the pistons within the cylinders.

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