The pilot was conducting a travel flight over two days, from Lilydale to Essendon, Merimbula, Mallacoota and returning to Lilydale. Pre- DEPARTURE, he checked the fuel tanks and established they were full. The left tank gauge was indicating full, while the right tank gauge was showing less than half. On setting course for Essendon he noticed the cylinder head temperature gauge was indicating a high temperature so decided he would use a cruise mixture setting richer than normal. He selected a fuel flow of 105 pounds an hour (68.6 litres per hour.) On the subsequent legs the pilot adopted a similar procedure. Before departing Merimbula the next morning he checked the tank levels by putting his finger in the tank aperture and ascertaining the fuel was about 7.5 centimetres below the top. He decided there was adequate fuel for the rest of the flight and did not refuel. On the flight plan he recorded an endurance of 240 minutes, with a plan time for the two legs of 110 minutes. The flights proceeded normally and the pilot again used the higher cruise fuel flow. After passing the East Sale area and when heading towards Warragul he noted the right tank fuel gauge was on empty and the left was on one quarter. He decided that the time flown and his preflight determination of tank contents meant there was adequate fuel for the rest of the flight and continued. About 10 minutes out of Lilydale the engine failed, apparently due to fuel exhaustion in the left tank. The right tank was selected and the engine regained power. The aircraft approached Lilydale for an entry on the dead side of the circuit. While at circuit height for a landing into the north, the engine failed. The pilot manoeuvred the aircraft via an "S" turn onto a final approach to the right hand northern runway. The wind was from the north at 15-20 knots and on turning onto final the pilot realised the aircraft would not make the strip. The aircraft contacted the ground 50 metres short of the airfield boundary with the landing gear up. The VDO time meter recorded a total engine running time of 4.9 hours since departing Lilydale. There was no fuel left in the tanks. In his flight plan considerations for endurance the pilot did not make any allowance for the extra fuel required for each takeoff and climb to cruise altitude. In addition, he did not revise his fuel endurance to take account of the use of a higher than planned cruise fuel flow. Calculations made during the investigation showed that when these factors were taken into account, planned fuel useage was consistent with actual fuel used.