Port Pirie

Port Pirie Old Station Museum


‘Port Pirie’ displayed at the Old Station Museum, Port Pirie on 3 November 2006.

This photo was kindly contributed by Marc Hryciuk.


Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co.

Kilmarnock, Scotland

Builder’s Number & Year

1955 of 1928

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” version 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 locomotives 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. Upon retirement, ‘Port Pirie’ was saved for display within its namesake city and for many years has been plinthed in a small courtyard within the National Trust’s excellent Port Pirie Old Station Museum, which seems a fitting location, being only a short distance from the smelters and wharves where it once worked.

A street with cars and buildings along it

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

This Google Earth view (captured 24 January 2022) shows the magnificent National Trust Museum housed in Ellen St, Port Pirie.

The museum is based in the former Port Pirie Railway Station (right), built 1902, and the Customs House and Central Police Station (left) dating from 1882.

Andrew Barclay shunting loco ‘Port Pirie’ can be seen displayed in the courtyard.

The width of Ellen St gives some indication that the dual-gauge railway that once ran where the median strip now occupies.



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

Government Railways:











Private & Industrial Railways: