Racecourse Mill No.1

Privately owned


Racecourse Mill No.1 stored at Kallangur / Murrumba Downs on 12 April 2003, with Triffids slowly encroaching!

The Thomas blue livery acquired while plinthed in a Mackay Outer Harbour park is slowly fading.


John Fowler & Co, Leeds

Builder’s Number & Year

17693 of 1927

Wheel Arrangement



This locomotive was built by John Fowler & Co. Ltd, the famous Leeds, UK builder of traction engines and small industrial locomotives, and was No.1 on the roster at Racecourse Mill, near West Mackay. At the time of withdrawal from sugar cane haulage duties it was configured as a 0-4-2 tender loco (without side tanks) but I’m not sure if this was its original configuration.

Following withdrawal from service, Racecourse Mill No.1 was plinthed (sans tender) in a park at Mackay Outer Harbour. It was later acquired by a private owner and stored at an industrial estate at Kallangur / Murrumba Downs, together with several other locos at that site. Meanwhile, the original tender also remained in existence, privately owned by a second party and kept in the vicinity of Marian Mill.

A change in ownership for Racecourse No.1 came around 2007, following the passing of its owner. At this stage the loco moved to a recycled building construction materials site in Virginia, Brisbane, where it could be glimpsed sitting just inside the gates.

It seems a further change of ownership occurred around October 2018 as Racecourse No.1 has now been spotted in an industrial storage site at Kingswood in Sydney’s West, keeping company with ‘Sydney’ (Hudswell Clarke 1838 of 1950). Would it be too much to hope this latest move is the first step towards Racecourse No.1 being reunited with its tender and restored?

I would appreciate the contribution of further information or photographs for Racecourse No.1, either during its service career or during its later preservation era moves.

Racecourse Mill No.1’s original tender also still exists in private ownership, and is stored in the vicinity of Marian Mill.

As can be seen, the original tender was a well-proportioned riveted job with attractive rolled edges, but corrosion has taken its toll.

This photo is dated March 2006 and was kindly contributed by Brett Geraghty.

Racecourse Mill No.1 as a park plaything at Mackay Outer Harbour.

The loco has been painted in ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ inspired blue livery with red highlights and yellow ‘1’ on the cabside.

The cab doesn’t look like a Fowler original, but rather a more modern welded replacement.

This undated view was kindly contributed by Tom Badger.



Light Railway Research Society of Australia Inc. Web site

(Retrieved 3 November 2018):

'Preserved Australian Sugar Cane Locomotives' list by John Browning



Wikipedia page for John Fowler & Co,

retrieved 15 September 2018

Page updated: 17 November 2018

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