Earth Moving Machines

The Star Drilling Machine from 1928.

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Some time ago we acquired two of these steam powered drilling machines and one of them is now back in working condition.

The Star Drilling Machine.

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Sandstone has two of these fascinating steam powered drilling machines. Both are with a restorer in the Western Cape where it is hoped to build one out of two. Click here to read the full story.

Sandstone saves a rare crawler tractor! The Vickers VR180 Vigor.

The Vickers VR180 Vigor was a British crawler tractor, built from 1951 to 1958 by Vickers-Armstrongs. During World War II, the company gained substantial experience in the design and construction of tanks and continuous track vehicles. After the war they developed a civilian crawler tractor that could be sold for use in peacetime reconstruction work. It was notable for the unusual sophistication of its chassis. All the components were of British design including the available attachments such as blades, towed scrapers and so on.

The Vigor was built at the ScotswoodNewcastle-upon-Tyne works.

The CAT 621 steps out!

On the 23 June we showed our CAT 621 scraper taking on a new coat of paint. See Spraying the CAT and rescuing the Combine. (

Our picture today shows the Scraper stepping out resplendent in its new bright yellow livery.

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An interesting little scraper.

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There are times when acquisitions at Sandstone are sometimes a mystery and we are not always sure what we have got! Recently we acquired this interesting little scraper/drawn grader but were not sure of its history. Crushed into the paint work was a Caterpillar sticker which was a major clue. With assistance from Neil Clydsdale (who visited us at Stars of Sandstone 2019) of the Australian Caterpillar Club, it was identified as a Caterpillar No 1 Terracer with optional front truck and was manufactured sometime between 1931 and 1941.

The CATS come out to play!

Our Caterpillar collection has for too long been a quiet and fairly modest part of our overall Heritage programme.  

We do not like to prioritise any one category of machinery as being better than another.  Our Steam Heritage department is obviously well organised and well equipped.  The same applies to the Agricultural machinery side, and of course we have an excellent cross-section of Military vehicles.  

One of the unsung heroes though is our growing collection of Caterpillar machinery which comprises a very good cross-section of working Caterpillar tractors from the D2 right through to the D9 of various vintages.  We will be featuring an article on the complete collection quite soon.

Bringing an old gentleman back into working order

The farm has a very old Scammell Dump truck reputed to date back to 1939. It has been our main workhorse with regard to the removal of materials, such as ballast etc. on the farm and the railway.

Unfortunately it had a major engine failure about 2-years ago. Such is our good fortune of Sandstone that we had an almost identical engine that came out of an old crane. Andre Smit has been working tirelessly over the past month to replace the engine. The main hydraulic ram was also worn out and that has had to be refurbished.


Grading of road

Grading of road

In line with our policy of using our Heritage equipment wherever possible we have once again deployed our wonderfully reliable old CAT 12 Grader to tidy up our roads after the recent rains.


Steam boiler The Star Drilling Machine Co. Akron Ohio USA


Sandstone  Heritage Trust has two Star Drilling machines and it is prioritising the rebuilding of one so that we can drill using steam power