Bingera Mill ‘Kolan’

Coal Creek Community Park & Museum


The former Bingera Mill ‘Kolan’, now named ‘Count Strzelecki’, seen at Coal Creek Top Station (since renamed Ruddville Station).

Originally the locomotive carried a balloon stack for cane haulage duties rather than this ornate copper-top chimney.

My thanks to John O’Neill for contributing this view (scanned from a print) circa 2001.


Bundaberg Foundry Engineers Ltd

(now Bundaberg Walkers Engineering Ltd)

Builder’s Number & Year

7 of 1953

Wheel Arrangement



The Bundy 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 locomotives 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.

Bingera Mill ‘Kolan’

Bingera Mill, situated to the west of Bundaberg and near the Burnett River, ordered two Bundy Fowler locomotives, the first being b/n 4 which arrived in 1952 and received the name ‘Ralf’ followed by b/n 7 which arrived in 1953 and received the name ‘Kolan’ after the local Kolan Shire. Both toiled in cane fields during the harvest season, hauling heavy loads of cut sugar cane from the fields to the mill for processing and returning to the fields with long strings of empties for refilling. ‘Kolan’ laboured in cane haulage at Bingera Mill for 19 years before being retired in 1972.

From 1975 ‘Kolan’ was displayed as a static exhibit at the former Boyds Antiquarium in Bundaberg.

In 1997 ‘Kolan’ was sold to a private owner and relocated to the Coal Creek Community Park & Museum at Korumburra, Victoria, where the loco was thoroughly rebuilt and returned to service, including provision of a beautiful copper-top chimney in place of the original balloon stack. Renamed ‘Count Strzelecki’ at Coal Creek, it now hauls visitors on a bushland loop track in the lower half of the museum site; apparently this line has steep grades and the regulator does get some use! I understand a small diesel locomotive deputises on running days if the steam loco is unavailable due to overhaul or fire bans.

Black Coal mining at Korumburra has an interesting history, with the first underground mines being established in 1878. Indeed the township of Korumburra was originally known as Coal Creek. The long-closed Outtrim branch line once joined at Korumburra station, and itself had a branch line passing the village site to local mines; the route of this line can just be traced on Google Earth as it passes the Coal Creek Village site to former mines nearby.

The Coal Creek Community Park & Museum hosts many historic local buildings which have been carefully relocated and restored to create a village setting focussed around an old coal mine, including a recreated railway station and goods yard featuring Victorian Railways 2-8-0 loco K169, carriages, wagons and a brake van. The webmaster enjoyed a visit to Coal Creek during December 1998 but alas it wasn’t a railway running day and I had to be content with spying the Bundy Fowler through a crack in the engine shed doors!

The contribution of additional photos of Kolan / Count Strzelecki in operation at Coal Creek would be much appreciated.



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



Page updated: 11 December 2022

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