TOP MODEL: George Punter spent 4000 hours on his first-place winning steam engine.
TOP MODEL: George Punter spent 4000 hours on his first-place winning steam engine.

Steaming over the competition

A BUNDABERG local has won gold in the Olympics of model engineering last month with his model tractor engine.

Working from a little workshop in his backyard, George Punter spent 4000hrs on his first place and gold medal-winning entry in the Road Going Vehicles category.

The Model Engineering Exhibition was held in England and while a placing always in competition, a gold medal is not in direct competition.

The recipient of a gold medal must reach a certain standard with their work.

"It was unbelievable, really a dream come true," Mr Punter said.

"I've always admired everyone else's work and to get the gold means my work is one of them.

"I never anticipated winning."

The hobby of model engineering began when Mr Punter was a child, building model plans, and eventually petrol machines as a teenager.

While studying teaching, as a part of his thesis he studied model engineering.

"It meant that I could take my hobby to school and make the workshop interesting." My Punter said.

Mike Seary, the engineering teacher at North Bundaberg State High School, said the school still used Mr Punter's design for a model steam engine as a part of the Yr 12's final piece.

"We've been using his design for the past 25 years."

"His designs demonstrate extreme quality and expertises.

"The level of competency it gives the students is fantastic and has given them positions of employment.

"The kids take their steam engine to a job interview and the interviewer is amazed that they could product a product like that by themselves."

Mr Punter's model tractor was inspired by the 1913 Saunderson and Mills tractor engine that was in New Zealand's Geraldine Vintage Car and Machinery Museum.

"Once I saw it, I thought that would make a nice model," He said.

"I spent the next week their taking photographs and measurements.

"Then came the 220 drawings and patterns, then came casting and molding of the parts and engineering it all together."

He had a second entry in this year's exhibition, a scaled model of a Lister Diesel Engine, which received third place.

While the 4000-hour journey is enjoyable, Mr Punter said one part was most rewarding.

"Getting the machine to work, knowing you've created each piece, is a really pride-filling moment."


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