Powerhouse Collection Objects

Location marker iconUltimoTime iconOn Now – 4 Feb 2024

Boulton and Watt steam engine

The Boulton and Watt steam engine played a key role in the development of the modern world and may be the most significant technological artefact ever to reach Australia.

It was built in England in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution (1780s) and was one of the first rotative (wheel-turning) steam engines.

As Boulton and Watt engines were prime movers in the Industrial Revolution, this very significant engine represents not just invention and entrepreneurship, but also wealth creation, mass consumerism, great changes in working life, a massive shift in the use of resources, and consequent damage to the natural environment.

The engine in our collection is the oldest Boulton and Watt steam engine in existence and one of the oldest in the world to still work regularly under steam.

Please note the Boulton and Watt steam engine does not operate on Tuesdays, when it receives regular maintenance.

Strasburg Clock

The Strasburg Clock model has been one of the most popular exhibits at Powerhouse Museum for more than a century.

It was built between 1887 and 1889 by young Sydney clockmaker Richard Bartholomew Smith (1862–1942) and modelled on the astronomical clock in Strasbourg Cathedral, France.

Strangely, Smith based his design only on a postcard and a book as he claimed to have never visited Strasbourg (often spelled as Strassburg or Strasburg in his time).

The NSW Government bought the model in 1890 for £700 and arranged for it to be displayed at the Technological Museum, as this museum was then known. It soon became the main attraction.

The front of a large steam engine with a red front bar, black body and gold cylinders.

Locomotive No. 1

No.1 Locomotive hauled the first passenger train in New South Wales on the line between Sydney and Parramatta in 1855.

No.1 Locomotive was designed by James McConnell and built in England by Robert Stephenson & Co of Newcastle-on-Tyne.

It has been in the museum's collection for more than a century and is one of the most significant objects relating to the history of New South Wales.

It is also an important representation of British railway history as it is a very rare surviving McConnell-designed goods express locomotive from the early 1850s and believed to be the only example of its type in the world.

Kings Cinema

The Kings Cinema at Powerhouse Ultimo is a recreated art deco cinema modelled on those built by the famous Kings Cinema chain in many of Sydney’s suburbs during the 1930s.

Sadly, many of the buildings housing these old cinemas were demolished. The foyer includes interior fittings from the landmark Queen Victoria Building and the seats are from the Manly Odeon, built in 1932 and demolished in 1985.



Powerhouse Ultimo
500 Harris St
Ultimo NSW 2007

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Free entry
Suitable for all ages

Daily 10am–5pm
Thursday 5–9pm

Volunteer Led Tours


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