Statically displayed at Port Douglas


‘Bundy’ is seen displayed at the former Port Douglas Marina Station on 14 May 2022 in a view kindly contributed by Chris Stratton.

‘Bundy’ had been provisioned with a home-made 4-wheel tender at Mossman Mill and a similar arrangement followed in preservation.

The carriage behind the loco appears to be one of the Balley Hooley Commuter cars dating from round 1981.

Alas the tropical climate at Port Douglas will quickly deteriorate these locos and rolling stock unless a weather roof is provided.


Bundaberg Foundry Engineers Ltd

(now Bundaberg Walkers Engineering Ltd)

Builder’s Number & Year

2 of 1952

Wheel Arrangement



The Bundaberg Fowler locos

The well-known manufacturer John Fowler & Co, Leeds, UK built many steam locomotives for the Australian sugar cane industry, where their products were held in high regard. In 1935, John Fowler & Co made a strategic decision to cease manufacture of steam locomotives in favour of internal combustion designs, leaving a market gap in the Australian sugar industry where demand for steam traction remained. Stepping in to fill this gap were Australian companies Perry Engineering in Adelaide, and Bundaberg Foundry Engineers Ltd (Bundaberg Foundry) who leveraged their established heavy engineering business serving the cane mills of Queensland’s Burnett Region and beyond.

By 1948, Bundaberg Foundry had obtained firm orders from various mills for 8 steam locomotives based on recent John Fowler & Co designs operating at Queensland mills, in particular 0-6-2T ‘Airdmillan’ (Fowler b/n 20763 of 1935), and with modernisations such as roller-bearing axles. It seems a licence was eventually negotiated with John Fowler & Co, but steel supply proved problematic in the post-war years and the first loco was not completed until 1952. A single 0-4-2T version was among the 8 constructed. These antipodean Fowler cousins became known as ‘Bundy Fowlers’ and were not only among the last steam locomotives built in Australia, but also among the last in revenue service – with all 8 Bundaberg-Fowler steam locomotives ultimately passing into preservation.

John Browning and Brian Webber have written a comprehensive and well-illustrated account of the various steam and diesel locomotives built and reconstructed by Bundaberg Foundry Engineers Limited in ‘Built by Bundaberg Foundry’ as referenced below. Rather than repeat the information provided in that authorative work, I have sought here to provide a brief background to the Bundy-Fowler steam locomotives and their preservation careers.

Mossman Mill No.5 ‘Bundy’

Situated 75km north of Cairns is Mossman, a tropical town on the edge of the Daintree World Heritage rainforest in the tropical far north of Queensland. Here a sugar mill was established in 1897. A network of 2’ gauge tramways developed to feed sugar cane to the mill, together with a longer route to the deep-water port available at Port Douglas. The second built of the Bundy Fowlers was delivered here in 1952, becoming No.5 on the mill roster and named ‘Bundy’. Being so remote from coal supplies, the steam fleet at Mossman used wood fuel and the mill’s fitters created a small 4-wheel tender to carry the fuel.

No.5 ‘Bundy’ was last steamed at Mossman Mill around 1966 or 1967. It was late sold to a steam enthusiast for private preservation, who initially moved the loco to Cranborne, Melbourne in 1971 and later to a rural property at Lyndhurst. In 1977 it moved to the Bundaberg area, as the owner had taken up business as a sugar grower.

In 1988 the loco returned to Mossman Mill ownership when purchased to work the Bally Hooley Commuter train, a tourism initiative by Mossman Mill in Queensland’s tropical far north. Balley Hooley Commuter operations began around 1981 with a run starting at Mossman Mill and taking tourists out to the canefields. In 1987 operations were extended from the Mill to Port Douglas, which had become the focus of resort and golf club developments being built along either side of the railway. At some stage the operation became centred on the Port Douglas end of the line as the Balley Hooley Steam Railway, with significant infrastructure built along the line. A western terminus station (doubling as a function centre & café) was provided at St Crispins, including a short turntable and run-round loop. (The line further west to Mossman became part of a golf course & hence the track was truncated and lifted, although the low embankment remained obvious to railway archaeologists!) A similar turntable and run-around siding was built at the Port Douglas terminus building, and station stops were provided at various resorts along the 4 km route. In 2003 the operation was purchased over by a private operator – the capital investment may date from that time – providing an opportunity for family fun and children’s entertainment to the many golf widows (and widowers!) and other resort visitors. It seems daily commercial operation proved uneconomic, but operations continued on weekends with the support of volunteers. At some stage during these changes the Balley Hooley nameplates were removed from No.5 ‘Bundy’. It was joined in Balley Hooley Steam Railway service by sister ‘Speedy’ Bundy Fowler B/No.6 of 1952 and the two provided a popular tourist service, joined in 2017 by No.4 ‘Nelson’ (Fowler 20273 of 1934).

‘Light Railways’ magazine of December 2021 carried the sad news that the Balley Hooley Steam Railway had come to an end earlier that year. Somewhat surprisingly to southern enthusiasts, it was reported that rails etc were to be sold for re-use on local sugar cane tramways, while the locomotives and carriages were to be placed on display at the Port Douglas station as part of a café restaurant development. Local news items reported that the owner understandably wished to retire after 20 years dedicated to running the Balley Hooley Steam Railway, and unfortunately a new owner to take over the railway as a going concern had not been found – I suspect the COVID downturn would not have helped in this regard.

Chris Stratton visited Port Douglas in May 2022 and provided various photographs (featured below) of the former Balley Hooley Steam Railway infrastructure, together with the locos and rolling stock now plinthed at the former Marina Station. I understand the Marina Station functions as a restaurant / café with the Balley Hooley locomotives available for inspection. I’ve also added a selection of photos showing Mossman Mill No.5 ‘Bundy’ at earlier stages of its career. I fear the tropical climate at Port Douglas will demand ongoing maintenance of the locos and rollingstock.

A train travels down the tracks

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Another view of ‘Bundy’ (BFC B/No.2 of 1952) parked at Port Douglas (former Marina Station) on 14 May 2022, courtesy of Chris Stratton.

It is one of three formerly operable Balley Hooley Steam Railway locos now plinthed at this location.

A train on the tracks

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A front view of ‘Bundy’ parked at Port Douglas (former Marina Station) on 14 May 2022, photo courtesy of Chris Stratton.

The ‘BFC’ roundel on the smokebox is nicely picked out in red.

The run-around loop used to be to the left of the loco; this track appears to have been lifted and replaced by a garden bed.

Happier days on the Balley Hooley Steam Railway as ‘Bundy’ and sister ‘Speedy’ (behind) are serviced on 19 February 2005.

This photo was kindly provided by Matt Fenn.

A white house surrounded by trees

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The former station at St Crispins, as photographed by Chris Stratton on 22 May 2022.

The platform road has been landscaped and the former run-around road grassed over.

A small turntable had been at the far end of the platform, and the station appears to be in process of modifications.

If I correctly recall the other side of the station building overlooked a golf course.

The entrance to St Crispins Station gives an impression of how the tramway to Port Douglas came to be surrounded by resorts and residential developments.

This photograph was kindly contributed by Chris Stratton and is dated 22 May 2022.

A picture containing tree, outdoor, road, grass

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Alas & alack, the Balley Hooley Steam Railway is a railway archaeology site now.

At least the former right-of-way has been landscaped through the resorts area.

This photo is dated 22 May 2022 and contributed by Chris Stratton, showing remaining rail embedded in the roadway at St Crispins.

The sad state of affairs at the Balley Hooley Steam Railway on 22 May 2022.

This is courtesy of Chris Stratton and shows the former Mirage Station (for Mirage Resort).

It is apparent that significant capital was spent establishing the railway infrastructure, in keeping with the surrounding resort developments.

Pedestrians take note of the sign – whistle at the crossing and pass at 5kmph max!

The concrete enclosed track and significant stations are testament to the capital expended to establish the Balley Hooley Steam Railway.

This is the approach to Mirage Station; photo dated 22 May 2022 and contributed by Chris Stratton.

The former Oaks Station is rapidly succumbing in the tropical climate.

This view is dated 22 May 2022 and kindly contributed by Chris Stratton.

I first visited the Balley Hooley Steam Railway in 2003 and I recalled a much more open setting at the time.

My last visit was in 2018 and it was interesting to note how large fig trees and other vegetation had grown in the years between.

This screen grab of the Balley Hooley Steam Railway website (featuring Fowler loco ‘Nelson’) gives an impression of their former operation.

(The screen grab is date 23 August 2022, but the railway was already dismantled by this time.)

Vale the Balley Hooley.

The former timetable, as per website screen grab dated 23 August 2022.



Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site

(Retrieved 3 November 2018):

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list by John Browning



Website for Bundaberg Walkers Engineering Ltd,

retrieved 12 September 2022


Browning J. & Webber B.

‘Built by Bundaberg Foundry’, published 2012 by the

Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society, Woodford QLD

ISBN 978-0-9596009-4-0


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

Number 282, December 2021,

published by Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc.

Page updated: 11 December 2022

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