Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society


A broadside view of ‘Kiama’ (Davenport b/n 1596 of 1917) in steam at the Illawarra Light Railway open day of 19 March 2006.

The number ‘2’ on the cabside is not historical, instead relating to the Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society’s fleet numbering.


Davenport Locomotive Works,

Iowa USA

Builder’s Number & Year

1596 of 1917

Wheel Arrangement



Civil engineering projects today usually host an array of diesel excavators and dump trucks, but in earlier times the hard work of digging rock and shifting earth fell to men with picks and shovels, horses and carts! Mechanisation and light railways came to be employed on large building projects as technology evolved, often including steam-powered excavators and small locomotives for moving spoil and delivering construction materials. In this context several companies specialised in light railway equipment suitable for construction work. Such a machine is PWD No.65, one of a pair of small 0-4-0ST locos supplied by Davenport Locomotive Works to the NSW Public Works Department (PWD) in 1917 for the Cordeaux Dam construction project, and identical to a third machine PWD No.23 supplied in 1915 for quarry duties at Kiama. Given that the history and preservation of PWD No.65 is intertwined with the fate of the other two Davenport locomotives, the three are described below:




PWD No.23


b/n 1517 of 1915

First used by State Quarries at Kiama.

Around 1938 this loco was combined with PWD No.65 to create one operable loco.

PWD No.64


b/n 1595 of 1917

First worked at Cordeaux Dam construction with sister PWD No.65. Both later worked on sand haulage at Menangle for the Sydney Harbour Bridge project.

Boiler to a sawmill near Douglas Park around 1936.

Boiler saved by ILRMS in 1979 as a spare for No.65.

PWD No.65


b/n 1596 of 1917

First worked at Cordeaux Dam construction with sister PWD No.64. Both later worked on sand haulage at Menangle for the Sydney Harbour Bridge project.

Transferred to Kiama circa 1936 for use at Pikes Hill quarry. Around 1938 this loco was combined with PWD No.23 to create one operable loco. Preserved

Much like construction machinery today, PWD No.65’s career took it to different sites as dictated by the completion of one project and the commencement of the next. This humble machine even had a role in Sydney Harbour Bridge construction, as both PWD Nos.64 & 65 spent some years hauling sand from the Nepean River to Menangle Park station as part of that project. (I presume the sand was used as feed for a cement plant.)

PWD No.65 was sold to Quarries Limited in 1936 for use hauling blue metal at Kiama, joining identical sister PWD No.23 on that interesting tramway. In 1938 the best components of the two locos were combined to form a single operable machine, with most parts apparently coming from b/n 1596. Quarries Limited closed the tramway in 1941 following their coastal steamship being requisitioned for wartime use, after which the combination Davenport locomotive sat idle in the Pikes Hill loco shed for more than a decade.

A change of circumstances came in 1956 when Bruce Macdonald obtained the Davenport loco for preservation, becoming a very early entrant to the railway preservation movement that followed. It was initially displayed outside the Brighton Hotel, Kiama – facing the route of the Terralong Street tramway down which it formerly steamed - before moving later in 1956 to the Parramatta Park Steam Tram Preservation Society, a standard gauge operation with a short running line in Parramatta Park.

PWD No.65 moved to the Marsden Steam Museum, Goulburn in 1967, working on the 2’ gauge line Bruce Macdonald had established there, in addition to restoring the magnificent Appleby beam engine at what is now known as the Goulburn Historic Waterworks Museum.

Alas the extensive 2’ gauge steam locomotive collection at Goulburn was dispersed in the late 1970’s, with PWD No.65 purchased by the Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society (ILRMS) at Albion Park. The loco had been overhauled and returned to steam by ILRMS volunteers by 1978. Here it received the name ‘Kiama’ and was numbered ‘2’ in their fleet. The Illawarra Light Railway & Museum page for Kiama provides a brief history for this interesting locomotive.

For further reading about Kiama’s blue metal tramway, readers are directed to ‘Terralong Tracks, Kiama’ by Don Cottee & Yvonne McBurney, which details the history and operations of this interesting tramway which ran from Pikes Hill quarry down Kiama’s main street to the NSWGR exchange sidings at Kiama Station, and to ship loading berths at Kiama Harbour.

The boiler of sister PWD No.64 (Davenport b/n 1595 of 1917) last saw static use in a sawmill and survived long enough to be purchased by the ILRMS in 1979, ostensibly as a spare for PWD No.65 ‘Kiama’. The boiler was recently placed on display at Albion Park but had previously been proposed for use in their A & D Munro Shay Locomotive rebuild project (as seen below).

The photos on this page date from the webmaster’s visit to the Illawarra Light Railway on 19 March 2006, when ‘Kiama’ was in steam providing visitor rides around the circular track through a paperbark forest.

The ILRMS site at Albion Park is close to the nearby HARS Aviation Museum and the webmaster enjoyed a combined visit to both museums on 3 May 2015 which included the superb Lockheed C-121C Super Constellation in flight! At the time of that visit ‘Kiama’ was under overhaul at Albion Park, heritage funding having been received for a replacement saddle tank, boiler repairs and other work, which was completed by 12 March 2017 when ‘Kiama’ returned to steam for its 100th birthday – a wonderful milestone for this old construction worker! website provides an interesting survey of surviving Davenport locomotives worldwide. Among that list are a number of doppelgangers for ‘Kiama’, together with many similar locomotives of different gauges.

A second view of 'Kiama' in steam at the ILRMS open day of 19 March 2006.

The beautifully restored passenger carriage behind is the body of Sydney C-class single-truck tram No.95, mounted on 2-foot gauge bogies.

A picture containing outdoor, ground, tree, cart

Description automatically generated

A & D Munro Shay No.2 at the ILRMS workshop on 13 October 2002, with boiler from PWD No.64 (Davenport b/n 1595 of 1917) trial fitted.

At that stage I understand it was intended to use the spare Davenport boiler (with an original Shay smokebox) in the Shay’s restoration.



McCarthy, K. 'Gazetteer of Industrial Steam Locomotives, Illawarra District NSW',

prepared by Ken McCarthy for the Illawarra Environmental Heritage Committee.

Published by Australian Railway Historical Society (NSW Division), December 1983.


Cottee, D. & McBurney, Y. ‘Terralong Tracks, Kiama’

Published by Educational Material Aid, Strathfield, 1987

ISBN 0908053274


Wikipedia page for Davenport Locomotive Works,

retrieved 22 October 2021.


ILRMS website, page for exhibit Kiama,

retrieved 22October 2021

Page updated: 4 November 2021

Government Railways:











Private & Industrial Railways: