Dr Throg’s experiences forced him to conclude that heavier-than-air flight was impossible, and best reserved for dirigibles and their kind. However, the purchase of his Steam Pushmi-Pullyu by a foreign power awoke him to the idea of using steam for military purposes. The photo above is of the Throg Wombat, the first Steam Tank. The Wombat carried a crew of two in rather cramped conditions, and mounted a one-and-one eighth inch slow firing gun. It could reach a speed of almost five miles per hour at full steam, and had an unrefuelled range of nearly three miles.
For long range patrols the Wombat could tow a trailer laden with spare firewood and water, although this did expose the fireman to a certain amount of enemy fire whilst restocking. In these circumstances a spare crew member could be crammed in, just in case.
The Australian Government bought two dozen Wombats for home defence duties, and tasked them with defending the crucial New England area of New South Wales. The Wombats were often derided by their detractors as mere “kettles on wheels”. It is nevertheless a fact that during the Great War no troops of the Kaiser or his allies ever managed to gain a foothold in the New England; a record that surely speaks for itself.