Shearer Steam Carriage - Operational Replica

The Steam Carriage was the first self-propelled vehicle built in South Australia, built by the Shearer brothers at Mannum between 1897 and 1899, around 10 years prior to Henry Ford’s automobile. The vehicle has been restored and is on permanent display in the main pavilion of the National Motor Museum in Birdwood.

If Shearers recognised what they had achieved in commercial terms and developed the vehicle further, manufacturing of vehicles in Australia may have been different.
The Shearer Brothers amazing engineering ingenuity producing the first stream car built with a differential certainly created an exciting spotlight on the South Australian riverside township of Mannum around 10 years before Henry Ford produced his first automobile in America.
120 years later, the talents of the Shearer Brothers have been reincarnated through the engineering and steam prowess of brothers Doug and Roger Baker, volunteers of the Mannum Dock Museum.

To honour the outstanding engineering ability of the Shearer Brothers, our Baker Brothers set to work to create plans to produce an operational replica of the original car which includes over 300 photos of original components enabling the design and construction work to be carried out as close as possible in this modern world of operational expectations.

The replica Shearer car project will be launched at the All Steamed Up Festival on Sunday 18th November and is sure to attract many motor vehicle and steam enthusiasts to see the completed carriage work after many hours devoted by Doug and Bruce. Funding is crucial to the success of this project to both build and house the carriage at the Mannum Dock Museum which will form part of the historic Randell Dry Dock conservation and development project for the riverside complex.

On track for operational replica project

Arts South Australia, through History SA, has provided a grant of $15,000, to kick start a fundraising campaign to build a replica of the famous Shearer Steam Carriage.

The Shearer Steam carriage was constructed by brothers David and John Shearer in the 1890’s and is an example of one of the earliest vehicles to be built in Australia.

The construction of the replica will be undertaken by the Mannum Dock Museum, with advice and expertise from the National Motor Museum. The replica will be mostly located at the Mannum Dock Museum but will also be demonstrated at the National Motor Museum on special occasions.

Members of the community who are interested in supporting the Shearer Steam Carriage replica project are encouraged to donate via electronic transfer to

BSB: 105 085

A/C: 025138740

Name of Account:  Mannum Dock Museum Board


  • Mannum Mag

  • Duncan & Fraser

  • Michael Shearer and the descendants of David Shearer

  • MGA Insurance Group

  • B Lamond OBE

  • N & V Bottroff

  • West Darling Preservation Society Broken Hill Inc.

  • R & W Thomas

  • Machinery Preservation Club of WA

  • D & J Ashfold

  • R Brayshaw

  • Machinery Preservation Club of WA

  • Sealink Travel Group


TEL 08 85692733

ADDRESS 6 Randell Street MANNUM SA 5238

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