C17 No.721

Plinthed (as No.719) at Jandowae


A train is parked under a covered area

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C17 No.721 (masquerading as No.719) at Jandowae on 24 July 2021.

My thanks to Michael Gitsham & Michael Smith for contributing the images of No.721 for this page, following their visit to Jandowae.



Walkers Limited, Maryborough



Builder’s Number & Year

347 of 1922 (No.719)

349 of 1922 (No.721)



Wheel Arrangement




No. in class



The locomotive plinthed at Jandowae is one of Queensland Railways’ highly successful C17 class 4-8-0 locomotives of which 227 units were constructed by a variety of builders between 1920 and 1953. The C17’s were a ‘maid of all work’ type that were powerful enough for main line freight duties, yet with a low axle load which permitted wide deployment and accordingly they could be found on everything from suburban and express passenger trains to main, secondary and branch line freight and mixed traffic work. The final C17 class members were retired at the very end of QR revenue steam operations in August 1970.

This C17 is of the original ‘1920 design’ identifiable by a straight-sided cutaway cab, tall steam dome, cast iron chimney and a low-sided bogie tender. It has been reboilered at some stage, receiving the 1938 style of boiler with low steam dome, although retaining an older-style cast iron chimney. (I have some additional background information about the Queensland Railways’ C17 class locomotives on the page for C17 No.2.)

The locomotive at Jandowae was for many years understood to be No.719, which was placed in Queensland Government Railways service in January 1923 and written off 44 years later in May 1967. More recent information (as per the update listed below) reveals it is actually No.721, part of the same batch built by Walkers, placed in service February 1923 and written off in August 1968. Following retirement, it was placed in a park at Jandowae, west of Toowoomba, where it is displayed under a weather roof. Ownership of this locomotive had been with Wambo Shire Council and is understood to have since transferred to Jandowae Accommodation Park, where it is situated.

I greatly appreciate the various contributions received from ex-railway employees and researchers for this website. An example is this significant update received from Michael Gitsham in July 2021 regarding the identity of this locomotive:

I am writing to inform to provide you with an update to your listing on Ex QR C17 719 at Jandowae. Ater recently visiting the locomotive, it is mistakenly listed as 719 as after checking the stamping within the locomotive, it does not correspond to 719 thus an imposter and here is the correction;

Queensland Railways C17 721 - Walkers, 349 of 1922 - was a Mayne locomotive all its working life working around the Brisbane, North Coast & Darling Downs in the South East Division of Queensland Government Railways, whereas 719 was a South West Division Locomotive based at Willowburn, which worked to Dalby, Jandowae, Charleville, Glen Morgan etc. When steam was finishing in 1967 the Wambo Shire Council was offered 719 as it was the Jandowae locomotive that worked the branch, and was told by Queensland Railways that they would have it. However there was a mis-communication at Willowburn with the locomotive accidently being sent to scrap, so to save face; the General Manager selected 721 which was close enough and to stand in her place with 719 plates. It received in her last class 1 overhaul prior to being placed; the new boiler to the 1938 pattern with Double Sand domes for working the Bundamba - Redbank Loop Branch. (see Image below - Mayne {John Buckland, 1958}). Sometime during the 70s, the Plates were stolen and removed. In July 2007, prior to Council Amalgamations; the locomotive within the former Wambo Shire Council Caravan Park was sold to private owners and is no longer owned by the Local Government - Western Downs Regional Council, but AAOK Jandowae Accommodation Park.

In my 2021 visit, I have provided the Westinghouse Pump check plate which indicates 721, with big end crank with 721 and present condition images of the locomotive, still containing her original asbestos lagging but has been slowly decaying with rust patches due to little maintenance. Many of the fittings were removed by the former MVHR & Zig Zag for parts used in their restoration of C17 locomotives over the years.

My thanks to Michael Gitsham and Michael Smith for the above information, together with the following photographs which date from their visit to Jandowae and inspection of the locomotive there on 24 July 2021.

A picture containing text, plaque, stone

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The Westinghouse brake exam plate attached to the locomotive clearly shows this locomotive is actually No.721.

This photo is courtesy of Michael Gitsham and Michael Smith, and dates from July 2021.

A close up of a tire

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Similarly, the big end crank pin is stamped ‘721’

(Other marks seem to indicate that the crank pin is suitable for both C16 & C17 class locos.)

A train under a covered area

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A front view of No.721 resting at Jandowae.

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View from the coal space into the tender, showing that the backhead is stripped of controls and fittings.

An old train on the tracks

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C17 No.721 on shed at Mayne depot in 1958. The dual sand boxes are evident – and indeed also carried by the C17 loco behind.

This view originated from John Buckland and is dated 1958.

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This earlier view of No.721 at Jandowae in November 2000 shows that the weather shelter was in place by that time, with not much change since.

This photo was kindly contributed by Bert Meinders.



‘Locomotives of Australia’ by Leon Oberg,

published by J. W. Books Pty Ltd


Armstrong, J. 'Locomotives in the Tropics - Volume 2

(Queensland Railways 1910 – 1958 and beyond)’,

published by the ARHS Queensland Division, 1994.


Information table provided by Graham Wilson

(Operations Manager, Heritage Rollingstock & Component Services, QR)

at our meeting of 8 October 2004.


Information provided by Michael Gitsham,

Railway Preservation Society of Queensland Inc.

via email dated 26 July 2021.

Page updated: 30 January 2022

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