Australian Iron & Steel shunter


Bronzewing is seen at the NSWRTM Thirlmere on 6 March 2011.

Coupled behind is the side-tipping slag ladle donated by BHP Port Kembla.


"Bronzewing" was build by Clyde Engineering (builder's number 457 of 1937) for Australian Iron & Steel, Wollongong, Port Kembla.  Here it was one of a class of eight chunky 0-6-0ST locomotives comprising the pattern locomotive "Bandicoot" built by H. K. Porter to a classic US design, followed by four local-built copies from Clyde Engineering and three wartime examples (including Badger) built by the AIS at their own workshops.  The class members were:


Name Builder  b Comments  b



H. K. Porter

7160 of 1929

  In service November 1929

  Withdrawn 14-12-1971

  Scrapped 22-1-1975



Clyde Engineering Co

No.455 of 1936

  In service December 1936

  Withdrawn 2-8-1971

  Scrapped 19-2-1975



Clyde Engineering Co

No.457 of 1937

  In service February 1937

  Withdrawn 16-12-1971




Clyde Engineering Co

No.460 of 1938

  In service June 1938

  Withdrawn 19-12-1971

  Scrapped 19-2-1975



Clyde Engineering Co

No.461 of 1938

  In service October 1938

  Withdrawn 17-12-1971

  Scrapped 22-1-1975



AIS Port Kembla,


  In service August 1943

  Withdrawn 19-12-1971

  Scrapped 19-2-1975



AIS Port Kembla,


  In service November 1943

  Withdrawn 18-12-1971

  Scrapped 8-1-1975



AIS Port Kembla,


  In service February 1944

  Withdrawn 19-12-1971

  Retained for preservation bearing

  Badger's nameplates.


Photos suggest the first two engines Bandicoot & Brolga carried ornate Porter-style steam & two sand domes atop the saddle tank, giving the locomotives a very US-look, whereas the following engines carried only an undecorated steam dome.


These eight locomotives were employed on heavy shunting duties around the AIS Port Kembla steelworks.  Late in their careers they came to dominate the molten slag transfer and tipping trains, as these used a steam operated tipping mechanism.  With the arrival of more diesel locomotives the tipping mechanisms were finally converted to compressed air operation, leading to the withdrawal of Bronzewing and its sisters in late 1971.  The majority were cut up by AIS for steelworks scrap in early 1975, excepting Bronzewing which was donated to the NSWRTM and Badger/Bantam which is now held by the Dorrigo Steam Railway & Museum.


During the late 1970's Bronzewing received a static restoration by volunteers from the Illawarra division of the NSWRTM, and the locomotive was displayed at Thirlmere in lined black livery. In the 1990's Bronzewing returned to the AIS steelworks (by then the BHP Port Kembla Flat Product division) on long term loan, together with two end-platform carriages, and was restored to operation for special events connected with the steelworks.  Following the outsourcing of rail operations at the steelworks, Bronzewing and the two carriages returned to the NSWRTM on 27 June 2007.


Today Bronzewing can be seen at Trainworks, Thirlmere where it remains in nominally operable order.  It is displayed together with an authentic AIS side tipping slag ladle, which was also donated by BHP Port Kembla.




Front view of Bronzewing.  7 January 2012.

(Comparison with the 2011 photo shows the smokebox & chimney have been repainted.)



Detail of Bronzewing's nameplate affixed to the saddle tank.  7 January 2012.



"Dedicated to the memory of an Engine Man. Don Drysdale"   7 January 2012.



A view inside the cab.  The brake pedestal is prominent.  7 January 2012.



A 6 March 2011 view of the side-tipping slag ladle donated by BHP Port Kembla.

At left can be seen the cylinder which drives the tipping mechanism, and at right one of the eccentric bearings on which the ladle rotates.



This earlier view is copyright to David Dawe and shows Bronzewing in action during a BHP Steel event in 1998.





a L. Oberg, 'Locomotives of Australia', published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd, Brookvale NSW. 1982 reprint.
b McCarthy, K. 'Gazetteer of Industrial Steam Locomotives, Illawarra District NSW', prepared by K. McCarthy for the Illawarra Environmental Heritage Committee. Published by the Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division) December 1983.
c Webmaster's observation or comment.


Page updated:  31 July 2012

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