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Reg restores piece of Aussie history

Tuesday, 14th May, 2013

Reg Pedergnana with his two fully restored Australian outboard motors, the Verity and Hurricane.PICTURE: Emily Roberts Reg Pedergnana with his two fully restored Australian outboard motors, the Verity and Hurricane.PICTURE: Emily Roberts

By Andrew Robertson

A pristine example of post-war Australian ingenuity is about to go on display before its Broken Hill owner gifts it to the Maritime Museum.
Hebbard Street retiree Reg Pedergnana has spent hundreds of dollars and countless hours restoring his latest project - a “Verity” outboard motor.
As Australia’s first offering from what turned out to be a prolific but short-lived outboard motor industry, the Verity’s place in maritime history is assured.
But not much is known about the little motor which was manufactured by Sydney company AV Sale in 1947 using aluminium left in Australia by the American military after the Second World War.
That made restorer and historian Reg’s task of rescuing his Verity - which was given to him by old friend Alan Elder - all the more difficult.
“When Alan delivered it to me, he had removed every bolt, nut, washer, gasket and piston to the extent I had to get a wheelbarrow to bring the dismantled motor into my workshop,” Reg said.
“We’ve got very little history on Australian outboard industry, it was a very short-lived industry.
“Having no drawings or manuals to work from, it was like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.”
The internet was no help and when he lodged a request on the Old Machinery Magazine Forum, Reg received two replies from other Verity owners - who wanted his help.
Months spent restoring and piecing back the motor followed for Reg, who hasn’t let a lack of technical knowledge stop him from restoring a number of outboards and stationary motors over the years.
But the Verity is undoubtedly the jewel in his collection.
“Australia did not have an outboard motor until the end of World War Two,” explained Reg, who believes his Verity, number 273, is likely the best example in Australia.
Reg said he couldn’t put a monetary value on the motor which he plans to show - along with another Aussie outboard he has restored, the “Hurricane” - at Wentworth’s Junction Rally in July.
He’s a regular to the rally which is held every three years and features stationary motors, restored trucks, tractors, motorcycles and vintage cars, among other old machines.
But Broken Hill will eventually lose the unique piece of maritime machinery with Reg deciding to donate his Verity to the Australian Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour in Sydney.
“I believe this motor should not remain in a private collection, as it belongs to the people of Australia, it is our history.”

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