Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine (1869) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine (1869)

Item details

Name of item: Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine (1869)
Other name/s: No. 1 Manual Engine, No. 1 Manual Pumper
Type of item: Movable / Collection
Group/Collection: Utilities - Fire Control
Category: Fire Control Objects (movable)
Location: Lat: -33.74761314 Long: 150.693608
Primary address: 1 Museum Drive, Penrith, NSW 2750
Local govt. area: Penrith
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin


The SHR curtilage boundary is limited to the item itself and does not include the land it is located on or the structure it is housed within.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1 Museum DrivePenrithPenrith  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Shand Mason 7 inch manual fire engine (1869), manufactured by the Shand Mason Company of London, demonstrates an early stage in the process of a progressive development and improvement of fire brigade pumping appliances. It is associated with an era that both preceded and followed statutory control of fire protection in NSW, under both pre-Federation and post-Federation government policies. It demonstrates a defunct firefighting technology: manually powered pumping engines.

With its Braidwood style body, side pumping handles, and its typical layout and design, it is a fine example of a mid-nineteenth century, state-of the-art horse-drawn fire engine.

In general design it is typical not only of the Shand Mason Company but also of thier competitors: 'Tilley' and 'Merrywether'.

Research suggests it is one of only five manual fire engines extant in Australia and this, when taking into consideration its integrity and good condition, qualifies it as a rare item. This engine demonstrates social significance through the volunteer conservation of fire fighters and enthusiasts. Social significance was also demonstrated when the engine was set aside for museum purposes, by the Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW.
Date significance updated: 10 Jul 12
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Shand Mason Company of London
Builder/Maker: Shand Mason Company of London
Construction years: 1869-1869
Physical description: The Shand Mason 7 inch Maunal Fire Engine (1869) is a horse-drawn, four wheeled carriage, with a hand Mason, manually operated pump comprising two vertical-acting pumps, driven by links from the horizontal shaft, which is connected to the handles by levers outside the frame of the engine. It incorporates a connection for suction hose to supply the pump with water. Two deliveries (for the attachment of hose) are located below the carriage-one on either side. On the sides of the engine are pumping handles, each 18 feet 6 inches long, which combined, facilitate pumping operations by a total of twenty firefighters - ten on each side. These handles fold inwards from both ends so that thier length will not cause obstruction when the vehicle is driven.

The body is of the 'Braidwood' style: it acccomodates a coachman seated at the front, and three firemen seated on each side (facing outwards). A hose and equipment compartment is located under the crew's seating. On either side of the vehicle brake levers are located just behind the driver: these were operated by the firemen either side of the driver

There is evidence of lantern mountings however these appear to have been removed to facilitate the installation of the brake levers which are not original. There is also evidence that a hose reel was originally mounted at the rear of the vechicle; this has been removed at some time, either during or after its service. The fabric reveals evidence that two railings, one at each end of the crew's seat, have also been removed. There is also evidence that a rotary gong was once fitted to the undernerath of the driver's footrest; however this was not originally part of the fabric and has since been removed.

On the underside of the drivers seat, which lifts to reveal a compartment, the number '1' has been incised into the wood.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical Condition - good
Archaeological Potential - Low
Date condition updated:11 Jul 12
Modifications and dates: The lanterns at the front of the appliance have been removed to allow fitting of brake levers on either side (date unknown).
A rotary gong was fitted (after 1889) but later removed (after 1926).
Hose reel originally mounted on the rear of the appliance has been removed (date unknown).
Railings originally mounted at each end of the crew's seating have been removed (date unknown).
The appliance ar some stage has been completely stripped of paint and then repainted (date unknown). It also once featured the wording 'Metropolitan Fire Brigade' on the sides and now it features 'NSW Fire Brigades'.
Further information: It has been a long term oral tradition among firefighters, museum staff and fire engine enthusiasts that this appliance once belonged to the Royal Alfred Volunteer Company No 1 - Australia's first volunteer fire company (formed 1854). This tradition is partly based upon a number '1' incesed into the underside of the driver's seat. However this may only refer to the vehicle's Metropolitan Fire Brigade number (which appears in annual reports). Notwithstanding, a photograph and description of the volunteer company's engine closely matches the extant No 1 Maunal. At this stage there is no documented connection between the two engines, however it is indeed a possibility. Research is continuing in an effort to close a three year gap in the vehicle's provenance which hinders a conclusive connection. If such an association can be proved , then this would enhance the engine's historic significance.(The No.1 Volunteer Company's engine house (erected in 1857) has also been conserved and now operates as the Fire Station Cafe in Pitt St Haymarket).


Historical notes: 1869 Shand Mason No. 1 Manual Fire Engine is a survivor from an era of development and change, not only of fire fighting equipment and brigade organisation, but also of systems of government and their policies.

No.1 manual pumper was manufactured by the Shand Mason Company of London during a period when there was no statutory control or co-ordination of Sydney's fire protection. At the time this vehicle commenced its service, Sydney's fire protection consisted of a number of autonomous volunteer fire companies as well as the Insurance Companies Brigade (formed in the early 1850s) and thus would have been originally purchased by one of these early brigades or companies. By the time the manual had become a curiosity, preserved for display purposes, statutory control was well established and the NSW Fire Brigades was a state-wide fire fighting service. This engines four decades of service is therefore associated with an era in which fire protection in Sydney and NSW progressed from independent , mid-nineteenth century fire companies to a statutory, twentieth century state-wide organisation.

In the year of the manual's manufacture (1869) fire brigades in Sydney were using a variety of fire fighting appliances. It was a time of intense development and competition between the manufacturers of fire fighting equipment, with English companies such as Shand Mason and Merryweather trying to out perform each other with their respective products. It was a great period of transition in fire engines. Horse drawn engines had largely replaced hand drawn ones. Manually pumped engines were being challenged by the more powerful steam fire engines, however both were being used side by side in by the Sydney Insurance Companies Brigade. If a volunteer company agreed to place itself under the control of the Insurance Brigade's Superintendent at fires, then it would receive assistance, both financially and in terms of the loan of equipment which might include a steam powered pumper. Volunteer companies which refused to be 'controlled ' in such a manner had no support. Consequently steam fired engines were largely out of the question - they were simply too expensive. For these companies manual engines were an affordable appliance to maintain and operate and they were something a volunteer company could realistically purchase through a consistent fundraising effort.

At the inception of the Metropolitan Fire in 1884 the plant included two steam engines, two manuals and a ladder truck. In 1909, just prior to the NSW Board of Commissioners taking control, the plant included some thirty manuals. Even with the first motorised pumper being introduced in 1906, manuals continued to be used. Many of them were eventually fitted with turbine pumps. In 1909 the Annual Report states 'On October 14th, Messers T Green and Co., exhibited to the Board a method of conversion of manual engines to petrol motor power, which appears to have much promise' (MFB Annual Report 1909:4) These were mainly used at country stations, however, with the last one being withdrawn from Alstonville in 1931. This 1869 Manual somehow managed to escape such modification and is, apart from minor alterations, largely intact. The last manual fire engines were withdrawn from service in 1930.

The No.1 Manual's service period commenced during the era of pre-Federation Government. This administration was largely inadequate in its attempts to control and co-ordinate fire protection in the City of Sydney due to its long lasting procrastination) until it finally passed the Fire Brigades Act (1884). The Manual's service also extended into the era of post-Federation Government, which initiated state-wide co-ordination and control through the Fire Brigades Act (1909).

The Shand Mason Manual is documented as being located at Headquarters (now City of Sydney Fire Station) from 1903-1909. Its history prior to 1903 is uncertain. It can reasonably be suggested that its early service would have been with either the Insurance Companies Brigade and/or a volunteer company. Indeed there is a long-term oral tradition among fire-fighters and fire engine enthusiasts that it is the same engine that was owned by the Royal Alfred Australian Volunteer Fire Company No.1 from 1871 (christened 'the Pioneer' in honour of the company's founder, Andrew Torning). That particular manual was located at the Volunteer Company's engine house in 1900 when the premises were auctioned. Documentary evidence does not yet conclusively establish the provenance of either engine during the intervening three years( 1900-1903). By 1914 the No.1 Manual appears to have been a spare appliance at Newcastle City, at which time it was sent to Stockton.

On 30 June 1926, the Shand Mason manual was used in a display of ancient and modern fire engines featuring replicas of fire fighting equipment dating from 120 BC, which were constructed at the brigade workshops. This display was carried out in the presence of His Excellency the Governor of NSW, Admiral Sir Dudley De Chair and his wife Elaine De Chair. The occasion was the presentation of 86711 pounds ($173,422) raised through the Fire Brigade's Art Union, to be donated to various charities. A commemorative photo album which features the No. 1 manual being used, operated by firemen, was issued following the occasion. Copies of the album are held at the Museum of Fire, Penrith and the State Records NSW. No 1 Manual was handed over to the Museum of Fire in 1985 and is now on permanent display.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Shand Mason 7 inch Manual (1869) is likely to be of State heritage significance as it demonstrates a stage of the progressive development of fire brigade pumping appliances and equipm,ent through out the era wich both preceded and followed statutory control of fire protection in NSW under both the pre and post Federation Government.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The fabric, design and layout of the appliance provide a fine example of state-of-the-art fire fighting technology of the mid nineteenth century, in particular manually powered pumping engines. It is typical of the workmanship and technology of the Shand Mason Company during this era.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The engine is held in high esteem by fire fighters and fire enthusiasts because of its association with an early era of the fire brigade story. This is evidenced by the care and maintenance carried out by volunteer workers at the Museum of Fire where it is now permanently on display. Its social significance was recognised by the Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW when it approved the retention of the manual for museum purposes. It is also valued because of a long term oral tradition among fire fighters and enthusiasts , that this appliance belonged to Australia's first volunteer fire company, the Royal Alfred Australia Volunteer Company No. 1
SHR Criteria f)
The No. 1 Manual demonstrated a now defunct technology of manually powered pumping appliances and research indicates that it is one of only five extant manual fire engines in Australia. These are located at Ballarat (1), Melbourne (1), and Museum of Fire Penrith (2). These facts when considered with its integrity and good condition, qualifies it as rare.
SHR Criteria g)
The appliance is a fine example of a horse drawn manual fire engine of the mid nineteenth century, and is typical of the designs of such English companies such as Shand Mason, Tilley and Merryweather. In line with other vehicles of its class, it is typical in its layout: rear-mounted pump, side pumping handles and a Braidwood style body. Within its class, the manual demonstrates the progression from the earlier' end-stoke' models to the 'side pumper' models, which provided greater access to the pumping handles, and which in turn facilitated a greater number of firemen taking part in the pumping operations.
Integrity/Intactness: The appliance is essentially the same as one featured in an 1871 photograph. The photograph reveals that the lanterns have been removed to allow for the fitting of rear wheel, lever-operated brakes. The hose reel which was mounted at the rear of the appliance is absent, as are railings, which were formerly fitted to the top of the Braidwood body. It appears as though a rotary gong fitted and later removed. The vehicle is still in a fully operational condition.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions


1869 Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine

SHR No. 1898

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule C by the Fire and Rescue NSW or the Museum of Fire described in Schedule B on the item described in Schedule A.

The Hon Robyn Parker, MP.
Minister for Heritage

Sydney, 24th Day of October 2012


The item known as the 1869 Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine, situated on the land described in Schedule B.


Moveable heritage item currently stored at 1 Museum Drive, Penrith, Parish of Castlereagh, County of Cumberland.


1. All Standard Exemptions
Reason/ comments:These cover a full range of activities that do not require Heritage Council approval, including Standard Exemption 7 which allows consideration of additional unspecified types of minor works for exemption.

2. Replacement of parts as required to keep the Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine in good repair and order where the existing parts cannot be repaired and retained. Parts are to be a replica of the original parts except where this can no longer be achieved and will not impact on the significance of the item.
Reason/ comments:To ensure the maintenance, repair and conservation of the Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine.

3. The disassembly and reassembly of the Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine for the purposes of maintenance and repair to keep the item in good repair and order.
Reason/ comments:To ensure the maintenance, repair and conservation of the Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine.

4. The removal of the Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine for storage outside the Museum of Fire Penrith for the purposes of maintenance and/or repair/ where an agreement is made to return the locomotive to the Museum within a specified time period.
Reason/ comments: To ensure the maintenance, repair and conservation of the Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine.

5.The removal (on loan) of the Shand Mason 7 inch Manual Fire Engine from the Museum of Fire, Penrith for the purposes of exhibition in other exhibition institutions or as part of a travelling exhibition where an agreement is made to return the items to the Museum of Fire, Penrith within a specified time period and where moving will not damage items.
Reason/ comments:To enable the public exhibition of the item.

6. The deaccessioning of the item where the item will be disposed of in NSW.
Reason/ comments:To ensure that the SHR item remains located in NSW (notwithstanding temporary periods on exhibition outside NSW)
Feb 25 2013

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0189825 Feb 13 30491&492

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenColin Adrian1984 Fighting Fire Fighting Fire WrittenColin Adrian Fighting Fire 1984 Museum of Fire, Penrith Written
WrittenD. Vatcher1999Fire Appliances in Australia
WrittenFire Brigades Board, Sydney1909List of Stations, Appliances, Fire Alarms, Permanent and Volunteers
WrittenS Goodenough1978Fire!

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5061686
File number: 12/06392

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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