It is not the best climate for a steam engine so this rarely gets used. It was intended as a back up for the solar system in cloudy weather. We have a great solar system though and the steam engine has become redundant… for now.
Why have a steam engine? There is an abundance of fuel to run it (any fallen wood in the bush usually gets burnt by annual bushfires), the longevity of the engine and boiler is over fifty years, we can have power all year round especially in monsoon period (when there is not much sun), essential oil distilling (on the wish list), water pumping/transfer to power tools – bench saw, thicknesser, lathe, pottery wheel etc.