Wake’s Garage

Katanning (10)

The heritage listed Wakes Garage has a long and colourful history which commenced in the early 1900’s.

Some people never throw anything away and at Wake’s Garage on Richardson Street they kept every single thing. You’ll find a never-ending collection of stuff from the past that just might come in handy some time. It was established in 1938 and has the only dirt floor left in WA. It’s also the home of the first rotary engine invented, which sits on its original workbench.

Wakes Orbital Engine

Wake’s Garage houses a prototype orbital engine, Australia’s first, invented in Katanning by local engineers, the Wake Brothers, who ran the garage. John Wake, having first conceived the idea of an orbital engine during his teenage years, worked for many years with brother Lindsay on the design for a prototype orbital engine, which they finally built in 1960, pre-dating by 10 years the orbital engine developed by Ralph Sarich at his Morley home in 1970-72, after he had been in the Wakes’ workshop.

The brothers later built a second prototype of their orbital engine at the Garage, at which period 13 men were employed there. The Wakes unsuccessfully applied to the State Government for financial assistance to further develop their invention.



Wake’s Garage has little aesthetic or architectural significance but high historical and social significance. With the large amounts of original machinery and equipment and records, the place is a time capsule of events and activities since it first opened it doors. There could be some scientific significance, with some of the machinery and equipment (some of which is still used) demonstrating the needs of automotive repairs.
The site of Wake’s Garage was originally used as stables and evidence of the stable floor still exists.
Since 1938, the site has been Wake’s Garage, the workshop still containing much original machinery and equipment. As well as the workshop there is also office space, with some records going back to the beginning of business.
The premises are a collection of iron and concrete block spaces with concrete and earth floors. The place is filled with machinery, motor parts, records and inventions. The architecture is unimportant; it is the contents and activities of the owners that gives the site its significance.

Click link below for full historical information:
State Heritage Council : Register of Heritage Places : Wakes Garage