Pichi Richi Railway, Quorn


BHAS shunter ‘Passchendaele’ on display at the Homestead Park Pioneer Museum, Port Augusta on 24 November 2006.

This photo was kindly contributed by Marc Hryciuk.

Passchendaele moved to the Pichi Richi Railway, Quorn in 2019.


Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co,

Kilmarnock, Scotland

Builder’s Number & Year

1546 of 1919

Wheel Arrangement



The Broken Hill Associated Smelters (BHAS) were established in 1889 to process the silver, lead and zinc ore delivered from the rich mines at Broken Hill, NSW. The ore was railed from Broken Hill via the 3’ 6” gauge routes of the Silverton Tramway to the NSW border at Cockburn, and then onwards to Port Pirie by the South Australian Railways. BHAS established an internal railway network at the Port Pirie smelter to receive and transfer the ore into their refinery, together with lines for slag disposal, wharves and general transport. Four locomotives were supplied by Andrew Barclay Sons & Co of Kilmarnock, Scotland, a leading builder of industrial locomotives. Delivered shortly after the end of World War 1, the four locos were named after significant battles on the Western Front in which the Australian Infantry Force fought - Pozieres, Polygon, Peronne and Passchendaele. Interestingly, three were 15-ton units with 10” x 18” cylinders while the fourth ‘Pozieres’ was somewhat heavier with larger 12” x 20” cylinders.

It seems the larger version with 12” x 20” cylinders proved more useful, and in 1928 one of the 10” x 18” locos – Polygon – was replaced by a new 12” loco named ‘Port Pirie’. Polygon was sold to New Guinea Copper Mines Ltd in 1927 and exported to their mining operation at Bootless Bay, east of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. To my knowledge it is the only steam locomotive to have worked in PNG, and alas it was scrapped in 1961 – becoming the only one of the five BHAS steam locos not to survive into preservation. The five were:


 Builder’s No.

Notes & Disposal


 Andrew Barclay

 b/n 1543 of 1918

Cylinders 12” x 20”

Statically displayed at Puffing Billy – Menzies Creek Museum.

To Bellarine Railway in 2010 and returned to service.


 Andrew Barclay

 b/n 1544 of 1918

15-ton, Cylinders 10” x 18”

Replaced by ‘Port Pirie’ and sold in 1927.

Worked at Bootless Bay, Port Moresby PNG. Scrapped 1961


 Andrew Barclay

 b/n 1545 of 1919

15-ton, Cylinders 10” x 18”

Statically displayed at Mile End Railway Museum (ARHA SA).

Returned to service for National Railway Museum, Port Adelaide.


 Andrew Barclay

 b/n 1546 of 1919

15-ton, Cylinders 10” x 18”

Initially placed in Risdon Park, Port Pirie.

Later moved to Homestead Park Pioneer Museum, Port Augusta.

Transferred to Pichi Richi Railway, Quorn in 2019.

Port Pirie

 Andrew Barclay

 b/n 1955 of 1928

Cylinders 12” x 20”

Displayed at National Trust (Old Station) Museum, Port Pirie

A guidebook to the newly established Mile End Railway Museum, published in 1974, describes ‘Peronne’ exhibited there with commentary that the first four BHAS locomotives had been acquired as war surplus. This claim was repeated in a later guidebook “On Shed at Mile End” published in 1980; presumably the years of manufacture and naming of these locomotives gave rise to this view. (Indeed, I also repeated this claim in an earlier version of this web page.) Subsequent research by Richard Horne (as published in a letter to Light Railways magazine, as referenced below) has now established from Barclay’s records that the four original locomotives were ordered new by BHAS and had no connection to the war effort, although their construction and delivery was delayed by the conflict.

A diesel hydraulic loco was acquired by BHAS in 1961 and took over all shunting duties, the slag lines having already been converted to truck haulage in 1941. The remaining BHAS steam locomotives were deemed surplus around 1964 but fortunately each found homes in preservation. Passchendaele was originally plinthed in a school playground at Port Pirie, later being donated to the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society Inc (PRRPS).

In the late 1980’s the PRRPS sought to acquire ex-Commonwealth Railways locomotive NM25 which, at that time, was a static exhibit at the Homestead Park Pioneer Museum in Port Augusta, and a swap was agreed with Port Augusta City Council whereby NM25 was exchanged for Passchendaele and an ex-ETSA diesel locomotive. Accordingly, NM25 left for Quorn in 1990, being replaced by Passchendaele which became a static exhibit at Homestead Park, as seen in the photo above.

Some 28 years later circumstances changed again, and in April 2018 Passchendaele was donated back to PRRPS by Port Augusta City Council. The little loco had arrived at the PRRPS base in Quorn by 2019, where I understand it is awaiting its turn for restoration. This is not the first BHAS shunter to arrive in Quorn, as sister ‘Peronne’ visited the Pichi Richi Railway in 1988 when it was tested and commissioned for traffic following restoration.



National Railway Museum website, collections page ‘Peronne

retrieved 21 January 2022.


Bellarine Railway website, ‘Our Trains’ page

retrieved 21 January 2022.


Information provided by D. Price via emails

dated 27 January 2011, 26 July 2011 & 28 December 2021.


Wilson, J. ‘The Mile End Railway Museum - the first ten years’

Published by the Australian Railway Historical Society (SA Division) Inc., 1974

ISBN 0909970092


Fluck, R. E. & Samson, R. ‘On Shed at Mile End’

Published by the Australian Railway Historical Society (SA Division) Inc., 1980

ISBN 0959507302


'Light Railways - Australia's Magazine of Industrial & Narrow-Gauge Railways',

Number 265, February 2019. Letters (page 28)

‘WW1 Surplus and Memorialised Locomotives’ by Richard Horne.

Published by Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc.

Page updated: 2 February 2022

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