John Fowler & Co. Ltd. b/n 11277 of 1907


This photo is kindly provided by John Browning and shows the superbly-restored Invicta at its relaunch and 100th birthday on 17 November 2007.


John Fowler & Co, Leeds

Builder’s Number & Year

11277 of 1907

Wheel Arrangement



Invicta was built by John Fowler & Co in Leeds and delivered new to the Invicta Mill, which was originally located on the Kolan River in the Bundaberg area. In 1918 the Invicta Mill was dismantled and moved to Giru in the north of the state, while Invicta and other railway assets stayed in the Bundaberg area after being sold to Bingera Mill.  Invicta worked at Bingera for 40 plus years until the early 1960s, and which stage it was sold to a third owner, the Millaquin Sugar Company for use at their Qunaba Mill near Mon Repos.

Invicta remained in revenue service at Qunaba Mill until as late as 1978. In 1981 it entered preservation when donated to the HMAS Nirimba Navy Training College at Quakers Hill Sydney. (The Australian Navy operated some steam turbine warships at this period and perhaps Invicta was considered useful for training purposes; I’d be interested to hear .more on this aspect.) I understand some restoration work was undertaken while at HMAS Nirimba and it appears to have been well cared for; the photo below gives an indication of the loco’s condition during in this period.

A return to the Bundaberg area came in 1993 when the Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society (BSTPS) approached the Australian Navy seeking custody of Invicta. The Australian Navy agreed to this approach with official handover occurring on 20th November 1993.

Upon return to Bundaberg, Invicta was stored within the BSTPS running shed in the Bundaberg Botanical Gardens for 10 years until restoration started in 2003. It was stripped for complete overhaul, including manufacture of new side tanks to the original design and repairs to the boiler, with the aim of having Invicta returned to operation for its 100th birthday in 2007.

The BSTPS achieved their goal with Invicta was recommissioned on Saturday 17 November 2007 with a suitable 100th birthday celebration. On the next day, Sunday 18 November 2007, Invicta entered service on their tourist tramway located within the Bundaberg Botanical Gardens.

For further information about this interesting locomotive, refer to the Australian Sugar Cane Railway website.
Their Facebook page also provides good information about their tourist tramway and current happenings.

Invicta's frames sitting on a works flatcar within the BSTPS depot, 27 December 2004.

Also seen in the BSTPS depot on 27 December 2004 were Invicta's side tanks, in undercoat & awaiting fitting.

My thanks to Tony Meredith for this image of Invicta at HMAS Nirimba during an ARHS tour on 17 November 1984.



Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site
(as at 10 March 2018):

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list
by John Browning (


Wikipedia page for John Fowler & Co, Leeds,
retrieved 10 March 2018


Information sheet provided by the
Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society (BSTPS)

and comments from discussions with members
during my visit of 26 & 27 December 2004.


Australian Sugar Cane Railway website, Invicta page,
retrieved 10 March 2018

Page updated: 10 March 2018

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