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Toy steam locomotive, Ferris NSWGR 36-class steam locomotive ‘3609’, 4-6-0 type, 0-gauge, metal, electrically-operated, made by Ferris Bros Pty Ltd, East Sydney and Brookvale, NSW, 1958

Made 1958

This toy steam locomotive ‘3609’ was made in 1958 as a sideline by a local Sydney manufacturer, Ferris Bros, who are more well-known for production of their car radios. The engine is a representation of a New South Wales Government Railways’ 36-class steam locomotive. It is significant because it is an Australian-made and designed toy representing local rolling stock. Before the Second World War Australia boys only had access to British, German or American-made toy trains featuring locomotives a...

Summary

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Toy steam locomotive, Ferris NSWGR 36-class steam locomotive '3609', 4-6-0 type, 0-gauge, metal, electrically-operated, made by Ferris Bros Pty Ltd, East Sydney and Brookvale, NSW, 1958

This toy steam locomotive is a representation of the New South Wales Government Railways' 36-class steam locomotive. It is made of tab and slot construction in thick bright sheet steel with a removable smoke box door. The boiler is well detailed with a turned brass chimney and steam dome, hand rails and boiler feed water pipes. The locomotive is fitted with four 20 mm diameter front bogie wheels and six diecast 12-spoke driving wheels. The cab has a pair of rectangular window openings below which is a transfer with the road number '3609' in gold. The motor is built into the chassis transversely and drives through spur gears onto the centre driving wheels. The locomotive is coupled to the tender with loose flap plate with two down-turned lugs which drop into a hole in the footplate of each. The locomotive is finished in matt black with red outline around the cab windows. An aluminium clip-on 'Ferris' manufacturer's tag is attached to the smoke box door. This is a late example of the Ferris 36-class locomotive and tender as the drive mechanism is located in the tender rather than the locomotive.

Dimensions

60 mm
90 mm
240 mm

Production

George and Bill Ferris began making car radios in 1936 at 932 Miliary Road, Mosman. During the Second World War they changed over to making producer gas units to power cars and trucks in place of petrol and had to move into larger premises at 252 Dowling Street, East Sydney. After the War they resumed their car radio production and were joined by their cousin Jack Ferris.

It was said that not being able to purchase electric toy train sets for their children for Christmas in 1946 encouraged the Ferris family to begin manufacture of toy trains. Their first was a version of the New South Wales Government Railways' Sydney suburban electric passenger cars known colloquially as 'red rattlers' and was released in 1948. These came in sets comprising a motorised car and two trailers. This was followed in 1950 by a 'Fast Electric Parcel Van' also based on a NSW type. Late in 1951 Ferris introduced an electrically-operated 36-class steam locomotive and tender. It was to be the only steam locomotive produced during their 7-year period of toy train manufacture. Nevertheless, it was offered in two versions, the F51 with an automatic reversing mechanism and the F52 with a manual reversing mechanism retailing for £12/3/- and £11/11/- respectively. The steam locomotive was first exhibited by Ferris at their stand at the Royal Easter Show in 1951 and also came in a set with two coaches loosely based on the NSW air-conditioned "Riverina Express" together with 16 pieces of tin-plate track made by another local Sydney toy train manufacturer, Munro of Cremorne.

The first 600 production models of the Ferris 36-class had a serial number stamped into the chassis on the left-hand-side between the driving and trailing wheels. However, it is thought that the total production run for this locomotive was about 1500 made between 1951 and 1958. A variety of road numbers were supplied ranging from 3601 to 3610. Ferris did not produce many goods wagons except for a four-wheel and a bogie open wagon and a four-wheel and bogie timber wagon made from 1953. In that year the firm moved to a new factory at Pittwater Road, Brookvale, and in 1955 a double-ended diesel-electric locomotive was added to their toy train range.

Macdonald, Bruce, "Spring, Spark & Steam: an illustrated guide to Australasian toy and model trains", Australian Model Railway Magazine and Eveleigh Press, Matraville, NSW, 2005.

Mangleson, Stuart, 'NSWGR C36 Class Steam Locomotives - Ferris-Style' in "The Australian Hornby Collector", No.112, March 2007, pp. 16-18.
1958

Cite this Object

Toy steam locomotive, Ferris NSWGR 36-class steam locomotive '3609', 4-6-0 type, 0-gauge, metal, electrically-operated, made by Ferris Bros Pty Ltd, East Sydney and Brookvale, NSW, 1958 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 29 June 2017, <https://ma.as/44983>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/44983 |title=Toy steam locomotive, Ferris NSWGR 36-class steam locomotive '3609', 4-6-0 type, 0-gauge, metal, electrically-operated, made by Ferris Bros Pty Ltd, East Sydney and Brookvale, NSW, 1958 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=29 June 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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