Who Built the Steam Locomotives That Were Used in Australia?

Here is an almost complete list of the builders of the steam locomotives that were used throughout Australia.

I say “almost” because I am sure that are records of some steam locomotives that were built for contractors or private companies that have not survived the passage of time.

I am also sure that there are some builders’ names here that you won’t recognise. When I set about compiling this list I thought I knew the names of most of the companies but once I started delving into the industrial locomotives that came to Australia I soon came to realise how ignorant I was.

Compiling a list like this from scratch could take years because, even in this day and age when so much information is available online, there is still so much information that is still only available by searching physical records and that can be difficult when they are thousands of kilometres away.

Fortunately there are many who have gone before me and, while they haven’t compiled a list like this, they have left details that made this task so much easier and thank them and acknowledge their work in the Bibliography.

Who bought them
Despite the fact that the State governments, and later the Federal Government, at times, exercised some control over overseas spending orders for locomotives from overseas suppliers came from both state government systems and private operators too.

Listing the State systems that bought steam locomotives is relatively simple and I’ve provided that information in abbreviated form under the name of each manufacturer. Listing the name non-government buyer would be much harder and so an entry that appears as “Pr” simply means that the manufacturer also supplied at least one non-government buyer.1

How they are listed
I should also point out that, in the early days, some builders supplied locomotives for private companies that soon became state-owned and then there were some locomotives that passed through the hands of a number of owners over the years.

For example, may of the locomotives that operated on the North Australia Railway were bought second hand from other states and reclassified. Those locos are only included in the list for their original purchaser with the exception of the TGR Ds class tank locomotives

Yes, there is always an exception. The four DS tank locomotives were purchased second-hand from New Zealand and so they are included here.2

Abbreviations
CAR – Central Australia Railway

CR – Commonwealth Railways

NAR – North Australian Railway

NSWGR – New South Wales Government Railways

QR – Queensland Railways

SAR – South Australian Railways

TGR – Tasmanian Government Railways

VR – Victorian Railways

WAGR – West Australian Government Railways

Pr – private owners

A. Borsig of Berlin, Germany

Pr

Alfred Harman of Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pr

Andrew Barclay and Sons of Kilmarnock, Scotland

CR – Pr

Andrew B Byers

Pr

Armstrong Whitworth & Co of the UK

QR – SAR – Pr

Arnold Jung Lokomotivfabrik GmbH, Jungenthal, Germany

Pr

Australian Iron & Steel of Cringila, NSW, Australia

Pr

Aveling and Porter of Rochester, England

Pr

Aveling and Porter are well known for their agricultural and construction equipment and this piece of equipment was originally built as a traction engine for use in Western Australia.

At some point it was converted to a rather unusual looking 2-2-0 locomotive.

Avonside Engine Co of Bristol, England

QR – WAGR – Pr

Baldwin Lima Hamilton Corporation

NSWGR – Pr

Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, USA

CR – NSWGR – QR – SAR – VR – Pr

Beyer Peacock & Co of Manchester, England

NSWGR – QR – SAR – TGR – VR – WAGR – Pr

Beyer Peacock built the TGR B Class locos in 1890. Here we see B14 still in service in Hobart in 1943. Photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Click the link to read more about Beyer Peacock steam locomotives in Australia

BHP Newcastle of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Pr

Black Hawthorn & Co of Gateshead, England

Pr

Bundaberg Foundry of Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

Pr

This company built 8 x 610mm locomotives (1 x 0-4-2T and 7 x 0-6-2T) between 1950 and 1953 for various sugar mills along the Queensland coast. These locomotives were based on a John Fowler design from 1934.

Climax of the USA

Pr

Clyde Engineering Co of Clyde, NSW, Australia

CR – NSWGR – QR – SAR – TGR – Pr

Davenport of Davenport, USA

Pr

Day Engineering Co. of South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pr

Day Engineering appears to have built one rather unusual looking 0-6-0+0-6-0 geared locomotive for Russell’s Timber Mill at Gembrook, Victoria.

Decauville of France

Pr

Dubs & Co of Glasgow, Scotland

NSWGR – QR – SAR – WAGR – Pr

QR 8D15 tank loco by Dubs

Dubs built these handsome 2-8-2 Class 8D15 tank locomotives for the Queensland Railways in 1884. Photo courtesy of Queensland State Library

Evans Anderson Phelan & Co of Queensland, Australia

QR

Fox Walker & Co of Bristol, England*

Pr

Fox, Walker and Co commenced business in 1864 and continued to trade until 1880 when it was taken over by Peckett & Sons.

*I am now not convinced that any locos from this company came to Australia

Franco-Belge Corp of Belgium

QR

Fulton Foundry of South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pr

George England & Co of London

VR – Pr

Great Central Railway, Manchester, England

Pr

During WWI various locomotive builders, including the GCR, built locomotives for the Railway Operating Division (ROD) of the British Army.

After the war John Brown purchased a number of 2-8-0 ROD locomotives for his Richmond Main Colliery. Included in his purchase were the first 3 ROD locomotives built by the GCR.

It’s reported that the ROD locomotives built by the GCR were not assigned builders numbers

Haine Saint Pierre of Belgium

Pr

Hawthorn Leslie of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England

Pr

Henry Vale & Sons of Pyrmont, NSW, Australia

NSWGR – Pr

Henschel & Son of Kassel, Germany

Pr

The loco that came to Australia from this manufacturer was originally built for use in South Africa. It was subsequently purchased by the Bennett Brook Railway in Western Australia

H K Porter & Co of Pittsburgh, USA

Pr

Hudswell Clarke of Leeds, England

CR – Pr

Hunslet Engineering Company of Leeds, England

Pr

James Cross of St Helens, England

QR

James Martin & Co of Gawler, South Australia

CR – SAR – WAGR – Pr

A member of the SAR V Class. These well tank locomotives were built by Beyer Peacock and James Martin & Co - Photo courtesy of State Library of South Australia B46528-27

A member of the SAR V Class. These well tank locomotives were built by Beyer Peacock and James Martin & Co – Photo courtesy of State Library of South Australia B46528-27

J. A. Maffei of Munich, Germany

Pr

J G Robinson of the UK

Pr

John Fowler & Co of Leeds, England

Pr

Kerr Stewart of Stoke-on-Trent, England

Pr

Kitson & Co of Leeds, England4

NSWGR – QR – SAR – VR – Pr

Langlands of Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Pr

Lima Machine Works of the USA

Pr

Locomotive and Machine Co of Montreal, Canada

CR

Lokomotivefabrik Krauss & Co of Munich, Germany

TGR – Pr

Click the link to read more about Krauss locomotives in Australia

Lokomotivfabrik Erfut of Germany

TGR

Markham & Co of Chesterfield, England

Pr

This company appears to have built a total of 24 locos but only one, a vertical-boiler loco, made it’s way to Australia and is now preserved at the Tasmanian Transport Museum in Hobart.

Manning Wardle of Leeds, England

Pr

Midland Railway Workshops of Western Australia

WAGR

Mort’s Dock of Sydney

Pr

Munro & Co of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

VR

Naysmith Wilson & Co

QR – WAGR

Neilson & Co of Glasgow, Scotland

NSWGR – WAGR – Pr

No. 3 of the Emu Bay and Mt Bischoff Railway in Tasmania. Neilson & Co built this 0-6-4T in 1888. Photo courtesy of Australian National Archives.

No. 3 of the Emu Bay and Mt Bischoff Railway in Tasmania. Neilson & Co built this 0-6-4T in 1888. Photo courtesy of Australian National Archives.

New Zealand Railways of New Zealand

TGR2

North British Co of Glasgow, Scotland

CR – NSWGR – VR – WAGR – Pr

NSWGR’s Cardiff Workshops of Cardiff, NSW Australia

NSWGR

NSWGR’s Eveleigh Workshops of Eveleigh, NSW, Australia

NSWGR

Orenstein and Koppel of Germany

Pr

This company built locomotives for a number of private operators including BHP, the Mt Magnet Mining Company in Tasmania and the Port Douglas Shire Council in Queensland.

Parkinson & Monaghan of Sydney, NSW, Australia

Pr

This firm only built one locomotive – a standard gauge 0-4-0T loco for G Wilcox, the contractor building the Manning River breakwater. This loco subsequently passed into the hands of the Public Works Department

Peckett and Sons Ltd of Bristol, England

Pr

Peckett and Sons took over the business of Fox, Walker & Company in 1880 and continued to operate until 1961.

The company supplied 3 locomotives to private companies in Australia:

1 x 1067mm gauge 0-4-0ST was delivered to Mt Morgan Company Ltd for service at their gold mine at Mt Morgan in Queensland in 1905.

1 x 1067mm gauge 0-4-0ST was delivered to the same company for service at the same location in 1908.

1 x 610mm gauge 0-4-0ST was delivered to the West Melbourne Gasworks in 1926 and is now in operational condition at Puffing Billy.

Perry Engineering Co of Mile End, South Australia, Australia

TGR – Pr

Phoenix Foundry of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

VR

VR Y Class 0-6-0 locomotive built by the Phoenix Foundry

VR Y Class 0-6-0 locomotive built by the Phoenix Foundry. Photo courtesy of the Victorian State Library

Phoenix Foundry of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

QR

QR Ipswich Workshops of Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

QR

R & W Hawthorn Leslie & Co of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England

Pr

Ransom, Sims and Jefferies of Ipswich, England

PR

This is another instance of a locomotive that was originally built as a traction engine for use in Western Australia but later converted to a 2-2-0WT.

Rhodes Timber Co’s Mt George Tramway of Taree, NSW, Australia

Pr

This company built one locomotive for its own use.

Robert Stephenson & Co

NSWGR – SAR – VR – Pr

Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England

TGR – Pr

Robertson, Martin and Smith of Melbourne

Pr

Robinson Bros, Campbell & Sloss of South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

VR

SAR’s Islington Workshops of Islington, South Australia, Australia

SAR

Sentinel Industrial Locomotives Ltd, Shropshire, England5.

CR (NAR) – TGR – WAGR – Pr

Click the link to read more about Sentinel Steam Locomotives

Sharp Stewart of Glasgow, Scotland

TGR – Pr

Slaughter Grunning of Bristol, England

VR

Societe Anonyme de Gouillet of Belgium

Pr

This company built 1 x 3′ 8½” 0-6-0T locomotive for the Illawarra Coal Company in 1883

Societe Franco Belge de Materiel de Chemins de Fer of France

SAR – QR

This company built 20 1067mm 4-8-2+2-8-4 Beyer Garratt locomotives, under licence from Beyer Peacock, for the Queensland Railways in 1951 and 10 1067mm 4-8-2+2-8-4 Beyer Garratt locomotives, under licence from Beyer Peacock, for the South Australian Railways in 1953.

Societe Cockerill Seraing of Belgium

Pr

This company built 1 x 3′ 8½” 0-6-0T locomotive for the Illawarra Coal Company in 1885

Societe Decauville Aine of France

Pr

This company built 4 x 610 mm 0-4-0T locos (b/n 623 of 1883, 624 of 1883, 686 of 1883 and 737 of 1883) for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company for use at their Homebush Mill in Queensland.

At that time Decauville’s locomotive construction was contracted out to Societe Anonyme des Hautes Forneaux, Usines et Charbonnages de Marcinelle et Couillet … aka Couillet … of Belgium where they were also given a builder’s number (16 of 1883, 17 of 1883, 18 of 1883, 24 of 1884)3

Stahlbahnwerke Freudenstein of Berlin, Germany

Pr

This company commenced operation in 1891 trading in track and other railway materials.

Four years later the company acquired a small factory and began building locomotives but by 1905 the business was struggling and was taken over by Orenstein and Koppel.

The company may have built as many as 250 locomotives but the exact number is not known.

Two of those locomotives (b/n 175 of 1904 and 217 of 1905) came to Australia. Both were 0-4-0WT locos and both were originally used at the Golden Ridge Mine in Kalgoorlie.

Both locomotives are still in existence and one (b/n 175 of 1904) is on display at the Rail Heritage Museum in Bassendean WA

Thomas Green & Son of Leeds, England

Pr

Thompson Engineering & Pipe Co Ltd of Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia

CAR – VR

Toowoomba Foundry of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

CR – QR

Vale & Lacy of Sydney, NSW Australia

NSWGR – Pr

VR’s Ballarat Workshops of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

VR

VR’s Bendigo Workshops of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

VR

VR’s Newport Workshops of Newport, Victoria, Australia

VR

VR C Class 2-8-0 freight loco built at VR's Newport Workshops. Photo courtesy of the Victorian State Library

VR C Class 2-8-0 freight loco built at VR’s Newport Workshops. Photo courtesy of the Victorian State Library

VR’s Williamstown Workshops of Williamstown Victoria, Australia

VR

Victoria Foundry, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Pr

Vulcan Foundry of Lancashire, England*

NSWGR – QR – TGR – VR – WAGR – Pr

* Not to be confused with the Vulcan Iron Works of Wilkes Barr, Pennsylvania, USA or
AG Vulcan of Stettin-Bredow, Germany (also referred to as Vulkan)

Click the link to read more about Vulcan Foundry steam locomotives in Australia.

Walkers Ltd of Maryborough, Queensland, Australia

CR – QR – SAR – TGR

W. G. Bagnall of Castletown, Stafford, England

Pr

This company was founded in 1875 and ceased trading in 1962. It was taken over by English Electric

William Fairbairn of Manchester, England

SAR – Pr

Yorkshire Engine Co of Sheffield, England

QR – Pr

Yorkshire Engine Co of Sheffield, England

QR – Pr

Unknown Locomotive Builder

Pr

We have a locomotive on display at a museum in Gin Gin Qld, but we don’t know who built it.

The loco is Bunyip, an 0-6-0WT that commenced work at the Wallaville Sugar Mill near Gin Gin on 31st August, 1896 and was out of use around 1962.

The mill closed some years after that and no records have been found that might indicate where the locomotive came from.

Bunyip the loco on display at Gin Gin

Bunyip the loco on display at Gin Gin

While the appearance of the locomotive could place it as a product of Krauss it differs in a number respects to other locos produced by Krauss around this time.

Several noted light railway historians have thoroughly inspected the loco and they were unable to find any identifying marks or brands that could identify who built the locomotive.

Bunyip the loco on display at Gin Gin

1Locomotives built for government departs, such as the NSW Public Works Department, have also been included in the private category.

2There were four tank locomotives that the TGR purchased from New Zealand. These four were part of the 41 strong Wf class. 26 of these locomotives were built by the New Zealand Railways Workshops and 15 by A G Price Ltd, a New Zealand Company. I have not been able to identify the builder of the four that came to Australia and so they are simply listed as coming from New Zealand Railways.

3 Browning, J 2003, ‘French Connection’, Light Railways, June, pp. 3-10

4This listing includes the SAR’s two 2-2-0WT steam motor coaches. One of these was subsequently purchased by the CAR and became known as the “Coffee Pot”.

5This listing includes the steam-powered railcars built for the NAR and the TGR.

 

Bibliography

Andrews, Brian R 1979, ‘A History of the Former R.O.D. Locomotives used on the Richmond Vale Line’, Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, vol. 30, no. 497, pp. 49-68.

Armstrong J and Verhoeven G H. ‘The Innisfail Tramway, 2000 Light Railway Research Society of Australia. Australian Print Group

Browning, J,& Webber, B. Built by Bundaberg Foundry, 2012. Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society, Woodford, Queensland.

Browning, J 2016, ‘More on Crystal Salt’, Light Railways 249, p. 19.

Clark, M H W 1980, ‘Reminiscences of the Upper Ferntree Gully – Gembrook Narrow Gauge Line’, Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, vol. 31, no. 510, pp. 69-83.

Cooley, Thomas C T. Railroading in Tasmania. L G Shea, Government Printer, Tasmania

Cooper G & Goss G. Tasmanian Railways 1871 – 1996, 125 Years. 1996. C.G. Publishing Company. Regal Press, Launceston Tasmania

Fluck, R, Marshall, B, Wilson, J. Locomotives and Railcars of the Commonwealth Railways, 1996. Port Dock Station Railway Museum. Gresley Publishing, Welland, South Australia

Griffiths, David. B.H.P. Locomotives. Railmac Publications. Kitchener Press P/L, Beverley, South Australia.

McCarth,y K. Gazatteer of Industrial Steam Locomotives, Illawarra District N.S.W. Australian Railway Historical Society (N.S.W. Division) 1983. No printer listed.

Oberg, L Locomotives of Australia – 1850s ~ 1900s Third Edition 1996, Kangaroo Press

Australian Steam Website: australiansteam.com

Beyer Peacock Website: beyerpeacock.co.uk. Beyer Peacock Production List V1 04.08.02

Industrial Railway Society Website: irsociety.co.uk

Private correspondence with Peter McKenzie of Westbury, Tasmania