Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Australian Inventions

Science, Medical, Defence, Agricultural, Household

Every child growing up in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s learned of the first inhabitants' tools and inventions - the digeridoo, a renowned wind instrument; the globally recognized curved throwing stick called the boomerang; and the woomera, a spear-throwing device capable of sending a spear three times the distance of a conventional weapon.

They may have also learned of the Smith brothers famous stump-jump plough and aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargraves' box kite, however there were many thousands of other lesser-known inventions devised by innovative Australian men and sometimes women that changed the lives of people not just in Australia but throughout the world.

In the harsh environment of early European settlement, isolation and lack of nearby resources led to improvisation, ingenuity and self reliance. Agricultural pursuits followed by the era of the gold rush and industrial growth fuelled the need for some remarkable improvements and inventiveness

In the tumultuous years of the First and Second World Wars, patriotic and innovative Australians found inspiration and encouragement to pursue their ideas for the betterment of the nation. In 1944 alone, it was reported that 90 projects had been accepted for the Allied war effort. These projects encompassed a wide range of achievements, from covert weapons development to the creation of non-slip devices for boats. The advancements included enhancements to automatic weapons, mine technology, mine locators, signal lamps, coloured smoke signals, and ciphering machines. Beyond military endeavours, non-military inventions emerged during this period, such as a potato digger, maize harvester, tractor plough, row crop cultivator, agricultural flame thrower for weed control, egg processing machines, mechanical skid loader, and a process for extracting wax from sugar cane.

Innovation came to the fore in the Hunter region when the massive electrically-operated doors at Rathmines Air Base seaplane hangar were invented and designed by two brothers from the Manning River district in 1940. A description of the doors in the Port Macquarie News in 1941 gives an appreciation of the huge undertaking :

Rathmines hangar

A most heartening feature of the war effort is the inventive capacity shown by Australians, literally thousands of adaptations and modifications of design have had to be made in the Australian production of the Bren Gun and the Beaufort Bomber in order to speed up production, and only last week came reports of the Defence Department's interest in a new design of Tommy Gun, the invention of a private in the A.I.F.

About the same time there appeared a description of the great doors which enclose the front of the seaplane base at Rathmines on Lake Macquarie, designed and constructed by two Manning River brothers, both of whom served their apprenticeship in Taree.

The Rathmines seaplane base has an enormous cantilever awning front. Jutting out like a huge verandah roof for a distance of one hundred and twenty feet, the forty-two feet high awning is two hundred and forty feet wide without a solitary post for support in all that distance. Whilst such a structure might be said to follow certain well-known principles in cantilever construction, the task of enclosing the front with doors was cause for grave anxiety. The huge unsupported beam which takes the roof might sag in the centre and jamb the doors ; the 10,000 square feet of door space would at times receive terrific winds from off the Lake ; would any doors stand up to it.

Nothing of the sort had ever previously been attempted in Australia. Tenders were, therefore, called 'for the design and construction' of doors to close the whole front. They would be forty-two feet high, and so built that each half would move rapidly to either side, out of the way of the planes. 'Design and construction' meant that the tenderer must fetch along his own ideas. The firm of A. W. Edwards Pty., Ltd., builders, of O'Connell Street, Sydney, were called into consultation on the problem. They had just erected 253 structures at Ingleburn Camp in the record time of 23 days, one of them a post office built in 24 hours, and another a hospital, the length of a football ground, with sewerage system, septic tank, fully equipped kitchen, lined, painted walls and polished floors, all in 16 days. The other structures were huts to accommodate 3000 men.

The company was already busy on the erection of the Rathmines hangar at a cost of many thousands of pounds, and when they tendered for the erection of the giant doors, it was found that the only other proposition put to the Government was to import the doors, a costly business using up shipping space, involving delays, exchange costs, and possibly submarine losses. The Australian tender for £9000 was accepted, and in spite of unforeseen difficulties the doors, operated by electric motors, glide open to-day in a matter of thirty seconds In all there are 72 doors, in pairs, each pair swinging from a stout up right steel member, which is mounted on a roller bearing wheel with a horizontal, wheel at top, to hold it in position.' Each pair of doors with its giant steel post weighs 1 1/2 tons, and yet they are so delicately balanced that they may be pushed about by hand. . . . At the touch of an electric button two motors attached to doors Nos. 36 and 37 begin to travel from opposite sides of the huge structure, each trailing its three dozen folded doors behind it till they meet in the centre and securely close the building. At another touch they operate with equal readiness in the other direction and fold their quota of doors back to recesses in the wall on either side, out of the way of the widest seaplane wings. The two principals of the company are Messrs. A. W. Edwards and S. O. Edwards, sons of Mrs. Jessie Edwards, and the late Henry Edwards ('Hawkeye') of Cundletown
. [1]

In 1962, the Rathmines Base was sold to the Lake Macquarie Council. Many buildings were privately purchased and removed from the site or used by Lake Macquarie Council as community halls. The hangar, complete with the electrically-operated doors was pulled down and shipped to RAAF Base Richmond to house the RAAF's then-new C-130A Hercules aircraft. The original base has now been heritage listed [2]

Find out more about the Air Base at Rathmines Catalina: History of the RAAF Base

Find the location of the former Rathmines Air Base on This Map

Aussie Inventions

Below are a few of the well-known Australian inventions of recent times as well as some of the thousands of patented inventions made by prolific Aussie Inventors in earlier days :

ALUMINIUM TUBE FOR DRAWING OFF BEER FROM CASKS - invented by Walter A. Finking of Adelaide The Register 19 May 1907

AMALGAMATOR FOR PERMEATING SLUDGE OR TAILINGS IN GOLD MINE - W. F. Bassett 1874 - Evening News 11 September 1874

ANTHRAX VACCINE (NON-PERISHABLE) – In 1919 Metallurgist and bacteriologist John McGarvie Smith after long experimenting found an effective Anthrax vaccine which would keep for an indefinite period

APPARATUS FOR FEEDING LIQUD FUEL TO FURNACES - designed by Henry Waker of Collingwood, stearine candle manufacturer

ASHTON MAGAZINE RIFLE - featured automatic feed of the cartridge from the magazine into the breech. Introduced into the British army c. 1900. Shiner gazette. [volume] (Shiner, Tex.), 26 Sept. 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress

ATOMIC ABSORPTION SPECTROPHOTOMETER - Sir Alan Walsh and his team at the CSIRO Division of Chemical Physics in 1952


AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL - developed by Tom Wills at Melbourne in 1858

AUTO HEADER HARVESTER - Northern Star 11 July 1925

AUTOMATIC 'STOP' DEVICE FOR GRAMOPHONES invented by Richard Bartholomew Smith - Magic in Sydney (Online)

AUTOMATIC TIME SWITCH FOR ELECTRIC CIRCUITS - invented by Richard Bartholomew Smith - Magic in Sydney (Online)

AUTOMATIC TOTALISATOR – In 1913 the world's first automatic totalisator for calculating horse-racing bets was made by Sir George Julius - Wikipedia

BABY CAPSULE - developed by Bob Botell and Bob Heath in 1984 - the Safe-n-Sound Baby Capsule

BLACK BOX FLIGHT RECORDER - invented by scientist Dr. David Warren - indestructible device that records the final moments of a plane before it crashes

BLAST SMELTING FURNACE IMPROVEMENTS - by John William Cole, mechanical engineer of Gawler, South Australia - for furnaces for the smelting or reducing of gold, silver and other metallic ores(1886) SMH 10 August 1886

BOOT POLISHER - Cleaned boots for 6d. - Daily News 4 June 1955

BOTTLE AND STOPPER IMPROVEMENTS - for gaseous liquids or aerated water bottles - by David Joseph Monk, vinegar manufacturer of Sydney Australian Town and Country Journal 7 September 1885

BOX KITE - Lawrence Hargrave 1893 - improved the lift to drag ratio of early gliders

BRENNAN TORPEDO - torpedo was fitted with a gyroscope to keep it straight. Development assisted by Louis Brennan from Victoria in 1874. The Register 16 June 1909

CANCER VACCINES GARDASIL AND CERVARIX - invented by Brisbane based medical researchers Professor Ian Frazer and Dr. Jian Zhou

CASTOR WHEEL - invented by George Frederick Shepherd in 1940s - Australian Dictionary of Biography

COCHLEAR IMPLANT - Professor Graeme Clark invented the first bionic ear at Melbourne University in 1970s - electronically stimulate the auditory nerve

COMPOSITION FOR CLEANSING WOOL, SILVER AND OTHER GOODS - George William Nathaniel Hamilton, electroplater and gilder, of North Fitzroy, Victoria (1886)SMH 10 August 1886



COOLGARDIE SAFE - In 1892 Arthur Patrick McCormick invented the Coolgardie safe which was a box made of wire and hessian sitting in water that was placed on a verandah so that any breeze would evaporate the water in the hessian and via the principle of evaporation, cool the air inside the box

CORN HUSKING MACHINE IMPROVEMENT - Alfred Melchior and Thomas Oldham Bennett of Sydney, engineers SMH 1 July 1886

CORN PLANTER - patent issued to Heinrich Stonz of St. Peter Sydney in 1886 The Telegraph 16 June 1886

COSMIC RAY GEIGER COUNTER TELESCOPE - invented by Dr. E. P. George, Director of Experimental Research University of Sydney Glen Innes Examiner 20 October 1954

CRANKLESS ENGINE - developed by Anthony George Maldon Mitchell in 1920s

CROUCH START IN RACING - Bobby McDonald, indigenous runner from Victoria first used this technique

DAKIN BOMB - WW1 Smith's Weekly 6 June 1936

DELAYED ACTION RIFLE - Mounted on the trench parapet at Gallipoli, the rifle was fired by water dripping into a container on a long string attached to the trigger mechanism. By rigging up dozens of these devices and varying the rate at which water dripped into the can the Australians were able to simulate sniper fire over a period of several hours. Air Force News 23 April 2015

DEODORANT AND DISINFECTANT - invented by Henry Malcolm Caldwell who assigned the patent to Henry James Goodricke Cattanach. Devised to produce economical deodorant and disinfectant for treating nightsoil and flushing sewers and drains - SMH 1 July 1886

DETHRIDGE WHEEL - used to measure the water flow in an irrigation channel, consisting of a drum on an axle, with eight v-shaped vanes fixed to its outside, was invented by John Dethridge, Commissioner of the Victorian State Rivers and Water Supply Commission in 1910. Wikipedia

DUAL FLUSH TOILET - by Bruce Thompson 1980

ELECTRIC DRILL - invented by electrical engineer Arthur James Arnot and William Brain in 1889

ELECTRIC TYPEWRITER - developed by Donald Murray, adopted by the British Electric Telegraph Dept - Daily Telegraph 14 January 1907

ELECTRONIC PACEMAKER - developed by Australian doctor Mark Lidwill and physicist Edgar Booth in 1920s

EMBRYO FREEZING - embryo cryopreservation, a technique perfected by a Carl Wood and Alan Trounson and a team of researchers at Monash University and the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne.

EXTRACTING ACETATE OF LIME FROM MOLASSES - the lime being used in the manufacture of cartridges - inventor Auguste Joseph François de Bavay, brewer, chemist, metallurgist from Melbourne Smith's Weekly 6 June 1936

FEATURE FILM - On Boxing Day 1906 The Story of the Kelly Gang opened at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. It was the first multi-reel, feature-length film ever produced in the world - National Museum Australia

FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND FIRE ALARM using a thermo start. When the mercury rises to a given point it completes an electric device to cause an explosion and this liberates a water supply to a spray nozzle - Inventors T. G.V. Blakey and W. Fish, Victoria. The Ballarat Courier 28 February 1914

FRAZIER LENS - invented by Jim Frazier in 1993 - allows for both the subject and background to be in focus at the same time

FROTH FLOTATION - The process of separating minerals from rock by flotation was developed by Charles Potter and Guillaume Delprat

FROZEN MEAT - Idea to send frozen meat to England developed by Thomas Mort

FRUIT SLICER - to operate on a large scale; allowed for variations in the size of the fruits - inventor T. R. R. Chilcott, NSW The Ballarat Courier 28 February 1914

GEM OF THE SOUTH POTATO - Russell Kidd - Daily Telegraph 14 January 1907

GOOGLE MAPS - Developed by Danish brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen in Sydney in the early 2000s

GRANDFONA - invented by Richard Bartholomew Smith - played six records in sequence - Magic in Sydney (Online); The Mercury 19 May 1922


GYROSCOPE - Invented by a man from Victoria The Register 16 June 1909

HAND GRENADE - T. Pendlebury of the Government Printing Office invented a hand grenade in 1915 that was suitable for trench warfare being light, small and easily thrown - The Daily Telegraph 4 September 1915

HOLLOW RIFLE BULLET - John Hember of Queen Street, Melbourne invented a hollow rifle bullet made of pewter that he claimed would travel twice the distance with an ordinary charge of powder Illustrated Sydney News 15 December 1887

HUMESPUN PIPE-MAKING PROCESS - developed by Walter Hume of Humes Ltd for making concrete pipes of high strength and low permeability in 1910

HYDRO-METALLURGICAL METHOD IMPROVEMENT - for extracting metals from crushed ores, materials and furnace products esp. gold - John Cosmo Newbery, Melbourne The Telegraph 16 June 1886; Before Felton

IMPROVEMENTS IN COMBINED GRINDING, CLASSIFYING AND AMALGAMATING MACHINES - designed by Thomas William Watson of St. Arnaud Victoria, engineer; and Thomas Denny of South Yarra, mining engineer, to produce a machine which could reduce to impalpable powder all descriptions of ores, esp. gold and silver (1886)SMH 10 August 1886

INCANDENSCENT GAS BURNER IMPROVEMENT - William Hooker of Newtown, Sydney, gas engineer - SMH 1 July 1886

INCUBATOR FOR EGGS IMPROVEMENT - by John Burdekin Holdsworth of Sydney -SMH 1 July 1886

INDIAN RUBBER PONTOON - Benjamin Sullivan claimed to be the inventor of Indian rubber pontoons and in 1848 produced correspondence from Lord Viscount Beresford, Master-General of Ordnance dated 14 April 1827 confirming the invention and informing him that it had been submitted to a committee at Woolwich for consideration and report. - Maitland Mercury 27 December 1848

INFANTS' IRON LUNG - used at Crown Street Women's Hospital, Sydney in 1949 for prematurely born babies was invented by a Hobart doctor and a technician The Worlds News 11 June 1949

INFLATABLE ESCAPE SLIDE AND RAFT - Qantas employee Jack Grant invented this in 1965

INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE VAPORISER HEATED BY THE EXHAUST - P. W. Richards, South Australia The Ballarat Courier 28 February 1914

JAFFLE IRON - Designed, named and patented in Australia in June 1949 by Dr Ernest E. Smithers from Bondi

LAMINATED PLASTIC for tables - 1955

LOKIT - freewheel and hub brake for bicycles and cars, the invention of Mr. Horace Williams of Norwood, Adelaide The Register 19 May 1907

MACHINERY FOR DRESSING STONE - Improvement in machinery for cutting and dressing stone by J. Robertson. - Australian Town and Country Journal 12 September 1874

MECHANICAL ICE-MAKER - invented by James Harrison in Geelong, Vic., in 1854

MICHELL THRUST BEARING - In 1905 the Australian engineer George Michell who had improved the theory of lubrication, patented a new thrust bearing. Michell's bearing created wedges of oil inside the spinning bearing to reduce friction between it and the shaft it held in place. These super efficient new bearings were one-tenth the size of old ones and opened the way for larger propellers and engines in ships. - Power House Museum

MILITARY TANK - Lancelot Eldin de Mole designed a military tank that ran on treads in 1911

MILK BUCKET SUPPORT - invented by J. S. Gribbins so that strain on the muscles of the legs caused by holding the bucket with knees could be avoided. Daily Telegraph 5 Februar 1908

MILKING MACHINE - Hygenic milker to keep milk free from contamination inventd by John C. Duigan of Melbourne Victoria c. 1900. The Bottineau courant. (Bottineau, Bottineau County, N.D.), 17 March 1900. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress

MOTH PROOFING PROCESS - developed by the CSIRO in 1957 The Beverley Times 3 May 1957

MOTOR-LESS AEROPLANE - Mr. Taylor made a full sized aeroplane without any engine and made many successful flights at Sydney in 1909 in what was the first motorless aeroplane Daily Mail 29 June 1924

MURRAY IRRIGATION SYSTEM - William Chaffey, co-founder with his brother George of Mildura developed the Murray Irrigation system.

NOTEPAD - invented by J. A. Birchall a Launceston stationer, in 1902


ONE WAY DISC CULTIVATOR - Northern Star 11 July 1925

OWEN SUB-MACHINE GUN - invented by 27 year old mortar mixer from Wollongong, Evelyn Owen who was a private in the Australian army in 1938

PEA HEADER - Northern Star 11 July 1925

PEDAL WIRELESS - invented by Alfred Traeger in Adelaide in 1927 and used in conjunction with Royal Flying Doctor Service

PENICILLIN - developed by scientist Howard Florey in 1939

PERMACULTURE - Bill Mollison and David Holmgren developed permaculture in 1972

PERMANENT PRESS CLOTHES - developed by CSIRO in 1957

PIANO - The Beale Piano factory was opened in 1902 by Sir Edmund Barton, Australia's first Prime Minister. Beale and Co were the first to produce Veneer in Australia.

PLASTIC SPECTACLE LENSES - first developed in Australian in 1960 now used around the world

PODUS CURA - John McGuigan of Melbourne designed a soft and easy tread for boots and shoes (1886) SMH 10 August 1886

POLYMER BANK NOTES - developed by Reserve Bank of Australian and SCIRO in 1980s

POMEROY EXPLOSIVE BULLET - brought down the first Zeppelin during the WW1 - Smith's Weekly 6 June 1936

PORTABLE GRATE FOR DOMESTIC AND CAMP FIRES. - ingeniously made of cylinder form, with part suited. The grate had a cover that would shut in the contents when fire was not required. Inventors J. F. J. Palmer and A. Lindner, Victoria

POSTAGE STAMP - James Raymond, Sydney post-master general in 1838 issued the first pre-paid postage

POWER BOARD - invented in 1972 by Frank Bannigan

POWERED AIRCRAFT - John Robertson Duigan of Terang, Victoria designed and assembled powered aircraft c. 1910. His were the first flights in Australia of a locally designed and built aircraft. (Australian Dictionary of Biography)

QUARTZ CRUSHING MACHINE IMPROVEMENTS - by William McLean, miner of Goulburn and Robert Watson, licensed victualler of Sydney. Relates to stampers which were lifted by cams or inclined planes, on a circular frame or wheel Australian Town and Country Journal 7 September 1885

RABBIT TRAP - improved method invented by mining manager William Whiting of Inglewood, Vic., Australian Town and Country Journal 7 September 1885

RACECAM - Channel 7 introduced live television broadcasting from racing cars

RAILWAY BRAKES - Air brake with triple valve, controlled in a special manner, inventor F. B. Woodhead, Queensland Ballarat Courier 9 March 1914

RAILWAY WAGON IMPROVEMENT - Thomas Perry and William Barneybus Perry of Dubbo, mechanical engineers, for an improved combination cattle and sheep railway wagon The Week 19 June 1886

REFRIDGERATOR - c. 1954. James Harrison designed and made the world's first practical ice making machine and refrigerator

REAPING AND BINDING MACHINE IMPROVEMENT - inventor Robert Savage in 1874 Evening News 11 September 1874

RE-INFORCED CONCRETE WALLS -using templates extending from floor to ceiling - by S. B. Marchant, South Australia The Ballarat Courier 28 February 1914

ROPE GRAB - contained two plates, slidably connected together, one wedge shaped, the other socket shaped. Inventors G .W. and J. T. Trewhella, Victoria Ballarat Courier 9 March 1914

ROTARY CLOTHES HOIST - Gilbert Toyne of Adelaide patented the first versions of this hoist method.

RUSSELL HAND GRENADE - 1915 - shaped like a boomerang and made of thin metal and loaded with small charges of black powder. Invented by Dr. Harvey Sutton and G. V. Russell Smith's Weekly 6 June 1936

SCREW PROPELLAR DESIGN - John Hember Illustrated Sydney News 15 December 1887

SECRET BALLOT VOTING - invented by Henry Chapman and first used in the Victorian election on 23 September 1856

SELF-PROPELLED ROTARY HOE - In 1912 Cliff Howard of Gilgandra invented a machine with rotating hoe blades on an axle that simultaneously hoed the ground and pulled the machine forward - Wikipedia

SELF-SERVING PETROL BOWSER - Inventor A. G. Rowe of Sheffield Tasmania. Similar to ordinary bowser with a coin-slide on the side and change gadget on the front. The Worlds News 11 June 1949

SHADOW CLOCK - invented by Richard Bartholomew Smith - threw a beam of light containing the shadow of a working clock onto the pavement or bedroom ceiling - Magic in Sydney (Online)

SHEEP SHEARING MACHINERY - Frederick Wyork Wolseley invented and developed the first commercially successful sheep shearing machinery in 1877

SHOOTING GALLERY - popular with soldiers of WW1. Claimed to have been invented by a scientist from Melbourne who secured the assistance of Pathe Freres in perfecting his apparatus prior to 1908. The pictures were projected on a screen of men and animals in movement. Whenever a rifle was shot at the screen the report broke an electric current, the picture momentarily ceased to move and hole made by the bullet was clearly seen The Argus 21 November 1918

SIGHT FOR AN AEROPLANE GUN (WW1)- invention of a young officer from Duntroon - Gippsland Times 23 October 1919

SMELTING PROCESS - George Fisher Beardsley, metallurgist - improvement in extraction of gold and silver-bearing pyrites from their containing material (1886) SMH 10 August 1886

SOUND RANGE FINDER - (WW1) - invented by an Australian engineer Mr. Austin, by which a big gun firing from a distance of eight or ten miles could be located withing 50 yards - Gippsland Times 23 October 1919; Daily Telegraph 14 January 1907

SOUND REPRODUCERS - invented by Richard Bartholomew Smith - for use with early phonographic records Magic in Sydney

SOUND WAVE MEASUREMENT SYSTEM - WW1 invented by Professor W. L. Bragg, of Adelaide Smith's Weekly 6 June 1936

SPEEDOS - invented in 1927

SPLAYD - invented by William McArthur in 1943

SPRAY ON SKIN - (1999) - technique invented by Perth based plastic surgeon Professor Fiona Wood to use a burns victim's healthy skin to grow new skins cells which are then sprayed on to the victim's damaged skin

STAINLESS STEEL BRACES - invented by Percy Raymond Begg of Adelaide in 1956

STAMPER CRUSHING MACHINE IMPROVEMENTS - by William Henry Nash, licensed surveyor of Sydney; relates to machinery used for the purpose of crushing quartz, tin ores, copper ore, by means of stamps(1886)SMH 10 August 1886

STAYSHARP KNIVES - Melbourne-based Wiltshire Cutlery design engineer Dennis Jackson designed a self-sharpening knife in 1970.

STEAM GENERATOR - to prevent a large proportion of the customary loss from heat from coal. Inventor P. McGregor of Port Melbourne The Ballarat Courier 28 February 1914

STUMP-JUMP PLOUGH - Richard and Clarence Bowyer Smith developed a plough which could jump over stumps and stones

STRIPPER- HARVESTER - John Wrathall Bull invented and flour miller John Ridley manufactured in South Australia the world's first mechanised grain stripper. - Northern Star 11 July 1925

SUDDETH - fumigator for the destruction of rabbits - Daily Telegraph 5 February 1908

SUBMARINESCOPE - improved apparatus to enable objects under water to be distinguished and for photographing such objects Australian Town and Country Journal 7 September 1885

SURF LIFE SAVING REEL - 1906 - Lester Ormsby designed and demonstrated the first surf life-saving reel in the world at Bondi Beach on 23 December 1906

SURF SKI - invented in 1912 by brothers Harry and Jack Mclaren at Port Macquarie

TANK-BED TUNA SYSTEM - invented by German born South Australian based Hagen Stehr

TAXIMETER - used by Adelaide City Council in 1949 The Worlds News 11 June 1949

TELESCOPIC AXLE - invented by E. W. Gill a Sydney engineer who claimed it would enable rolling stock to pass automatically from one (railway) gauge to another Daily Telegraph 5 February 1908

TENNIS RACKET DESIGN - Alfred Alexander of Tasmania in 1922

TILE CUTTER AND TRIMMER - to cut the edges to shape before they are delivered from the dies - inventor W. H. Evans, Victoria The Ballarat Courier 28 February 1914

TOY - invented by Richard Bartholomew Smith for a little girl, by which a rabbit emerged from a house when its name was called Magic in Sydney

TRAMCARS AND RAILWAY IMPROVEMENTS - by John Menzies of Kyneton, Victoria SMH 1 July 1886

TRAMWAY CONSTRUCTION IMPROVEMENTS - Norman Selfe, civil and mechanical engineer of Sydney The Telegraph 16 June 1886


TRITON WORKCENTRE - multi purpose workbench invented by journalist George Lewin in 1976

TYNE DRILL - Northern Star 11 July 1925

ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGY - developed in the 1970s by the Ultrasonics Research Section of Commonwealth Acoustics Laboratories

UNDER WATER EXCAVATING IMPLEMENTS - by Reuben Harrison and George Richard Harrison, builders of Redfern, Sydney. Australian Town and Country Journal 7 September 1885

UTE - Ford Utility (Ute)Ford designed by Geelong engineer Lewis Bandt c. 1934



WALLABY SNIPING CAGE -William Thomas Charley invented the concept of the Wallaby Sniping Cage at Gallipoli in 1915. The cage was used mainly for night firing and held a rifle in a fixed position after aiming, enabling it to be fired again without re-aiming. Farmer and Settler 30 July 1915; Hawkesbury Heritage

WATER CLOSET SYSTEM - William Howard Greenway's Patent Closets system which was installed at the Albion Hotel at Newcastle in 1878

WATER CART - Inventor John Furphy: a watercart with a 180-gallon (818 litres) cylindrical iron tank, mounted horizontally on a horse-drawn wooden frame with cast-iron wheels. The name Furphy was painted in large capitals on both sides of the tank. These carts, generally known as furphies, were ideal for the transport of water on farms, and an estimated average of 300 were produced annually for about forty years. They were used in large numbers by the Australian army in World War I. Australian Dictionary of Biography

WATER FILTER AND COOLER - patent issued to John William Colton, Alfred Cutting Colton and William England Longbottom, merchants as assignees of James Henry Southcott of Adelaide for a combined water filter and cooler to supply an inexpensive contrivance for holding water and to filter by inserting in an ordinary canvas bag cooler a porous vessel filed with a channel The Telegraph 16 June 1886

WI-FI TECHNOLOGY - Developed in 1992 by John O'Sullivan and the CSIRO and now used around the world

WINE CASK - invented by Tom Angove of South Australia 1960s

WINGED KEEL - Ben Lexcen, yachtsman and marine architect invented the winged keel. Used in 1983 America's Cup on Australia II

WOVEN WIRE MATTRESS FRAMES - William Goodenough Percy Sharp and Christopher Bradley from Melbourne (1886) SMH 10 August 1886

WIRELESS TELEPHONING FROM AEROPLANES (WW1) - designed by a Queensland station master Gippsland Times 23 October 1919

ZIPPER - NMH 7 December 1929

Notes and Links

Australian Slang


[1] Port Macquarie News 19 July 1941

[2] Catalina Flying Memorial